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What Management Owes Them and 
What It Does for Them 


Personnel Director, The New York Times 




^ 5-B ■ 3 

employees are people 

Copyright, 1947, by 
Harry King Tootle 


All rights reserved. This book, or 

parts thereof, may not be reproduced 

in any form without permission of 

the publishers. 

George K. Livermore 

21 eoi o 


Everyone who works for another in the business world 
should know what is happening to him and what is hap- 
pening around him. It is very seldom that he does. If you 
work for a living, this book will tell you a great many things 
that will light your path, perhaps help you to advance. It 
deals in the main with human relations, the most important 
aspect of your working hours. 

Businesses are alike in that they are conducted to make 
things and sell them and make a profit in the doing. There 
are other businesses that sell services to the public. What 
they all have is employees, men and women who supervise 
or make or transport or sell or service. How well these men 
and women get along with each other will have a great deal 
to do with making or breaking the venture. 

Every man or woman in a supervisory capacity is in a 
certain sense a personnel director. This means that he or she 
has something to do with employee relationships. Why that 
control is exercised in one way instead of another is usually 
unknown by the employees affected by it. How that control 
is exercised makes the difference between contented and dis- 
contented employees. 

I have just finished reading the page proofs of this book. 
It seems to me now that among the many persons who can 
be helped by it are the owners of businesses and those charged 
with management of others down through the rank of fore- 
man. It will give them a better understanding of their own 
problems in terms of human relationships. Those who next 
can benefit are the rank and file — the white-collar workers, 
the blue-collar workers, and the no-collar workers. They 

v iii PREFACE 

will have a better understanding of what they are up against 
when management is old-fashioned or greedy or just plain 
stupid. They will learn what progressive management will 
do or provide as a right. They will learn what may be hap- 
pening and why better things are not happening. Perhaps 
this knowledge will be power, as the copybook maxim 

Lastly, those who will benefit by reading this book are 
those for whom it is written — the men and women who are 
developing or taking over without previous experience the 
direction of personnel departments. They will ultimately 
learn to do by doing, but this book may shorten the learning 
time as well as save them many a pitfall. 

Few owners and few among the older men in management 
seem ever to cast about in a conscious effort to find out what 
personnel men have delved into and uncovered in the field of 
human relations. They seem to have no organized way of 
learning. Then by trial and error they have perhaps learned ? 
My observation is that there is very little informed trial. In 
consequence, this too often leaves their workers the victims 
of very much error. They will go unquestioningly to a doctor 
and they will run breathlessly to a lawyer, but they regard 
a personnel man with suspicion, if not as anathema. 

This book explains business in terms of human relation- 
ships through the eyes of a personnel director. It makes no 
effort to explain any one business. It will explain what may 
happen to you and why. It tells you what happens on the 
other side of the door. It is written from the point of view 
of a personnel director who believes that employees are 
human beings. 

Whether you aspire to a higher position or merely wish to 
remain in the security of your present position, this book 
should help you integrate your experience with what happens 
all around you. As you follow our hypothetical personnel 
director, you will keep meeting situations such as you have 
faced or can expect to face. 

As you read, think of yourself as a personnel director 


coming new to your position, learning what to do to make the 
business more productive per dollar expended through 
smoothing and keeping smooth a myriad of individual 

The views expressed in this book are my own, gained from 
experience with a great many commercial organizations. 
They are not presented as the personnel policies or views of 
the New York Times or as those of any other establishment 
with which I have been associated. 

In this book I am not favoring management. I am not 
favoring labor. I have no ax to grind. I have no ism to 
defend or defeat. I am just interested in seeing that human 
beings are treated like human beings, whether they are 
owners, managers, or workers. And I am particularly inter- 
ested in seeing that the men and women who take up per- 
sonnel work get treated like human beings. In this book I 
hope they learn how all with whom they work should be 
treated — justly. You may say that I ask you to strive for 
the ideal. Why not? The Kingdom of Heaven is what we 
are supposed to strive for. Why not strive for some of it here 
and now — while we work? 

Harry King Tootle. 

New York, N. Y., 
February, 1947. 



Preface vii 


I. You Get the Job 1 

II. You Survey the Job 8 

III. The Applicant 20 

IV. The Hiring Interview 37 

V. Testing for Placement 57 

VI. Your Staff and Your Paper Work 69 

VII. Bosses and Phony Bosses 84 

VIII. Getting the Employee Fitted to the Job 97 

IX. Extracurricular Troubles of Employees 104 

X. Running the Side Shows 126 

XI. Unions, Union Men, and Unioneers 150 

XII. Training 165 

XIII. Employees and Money Matters 187 

XIV. Measuring the Job and the Employee 215 

XV. Moving Across, Up, Down, and Out 235 

XVI. Foremen 257 

XVII. Putting Out the News — and Getting the News . . 269 

XVIII. Personnel Budgets — Statistics 287 

XIX. Directives — Laws and Lawyers 298 

XX. Women 304 

XXI. Morale 316— 

XXII. Final 341 

Index 347 



This account of personnel work will be simple and direct 
and honest. It is written for men and women who wish to 
know about the pitfalls, the annoyances, the disappoint- 
ments, the gratifications, and the occasional triumphs of the 
personnel director as he works with people and for people. 

Let us say that you have been offered a position dealing 
with personnel administration. You know vaguely some of 
the duties. You wish to know more, without becoming en- 
tangled in complicated technical terms and abstruse psycho- 
logical discussions. This is your book. 

There are countless ways in which men combine their tal- 
ents, skills, and money to carry on a venture for profit. This 
book will concern itself with enterprises conducted to make 
money through industry, commerce, traffic, or trade. 

Stepping Up Or Stepping In. — There are two ways by 
which you come to your position as personnel director. You 
either step up to it from some other place in the organization 
or you step in from the outside. It is my considered belief 
that you are more fortunate if you come to the personnel 
department after some years with the company. It is more 
fortunate for the company too. Bear in mind that I am not 
talking in terms of company departments where there are 
five, ten, or twenty thousand workers on the pay roll. 

You certainly can be more useful immediately if you are 
already acquainted with the company's personnel and fa- 
miliar with its policies in dealing with company personnel 
as human beings and not as statistical units. 

Yet there are disadvantages in stepping up to head the 
personnel department. One is that, consciously or uncon- 


sciously, a number of department heads (and often the Big 
Boss too) do not accord you the organization status your 
new position deserves. They think of you as assistant to 
this or that executive in the line organization. Therefore 
they are above you and do not have to give more heed to 
you than to any other assistant below them. So you have to 
be resourceful in combating an attitude in some quarters 
that, let us say, would not be condescending and indifferent 
if you came from outside. 

Another drawback is that in some instances you will not 
have the confidence of some of the employees who would 
like and who need to turn to the personnel department for 
help. No doubt you have noticed how strangers on trains 
will tell you the most intimate details of their lives. They 
have to unburden themselves, and to think out loud helps 
them when there is a sympathetic listener. Some employees 
will not come to you because they have known you or known 
about you in some other capacity in the organization. To 
them, you do not have the aura of the professional confessor. 

If you come from outside to head the personnel depart- 
ment, you come with the advantage of a clean slate. It is 
your good fortune if you come from the same type of busi- 
ness. A man who goes from one steel corporation to another 
steel corporation finds himself more quickly than a man who 
goes from a steel corporation to a hosiery-knitting corpora- 
tion. And if he goes from a steel corporation to the mad- 
house of a department store, he is just a babe in arms. 

You come from outside with a firmer command of your 
position than the man who has been advanced from within. 
"He must be good or the Big Boss wouldn't have hired him" 
is the general point of view. So you already have one strike 
on any batter who steps up to the plate to try to outsmart 

If you come from outside, you can make a better deal with 
the Big Boss about pay and opportunity than if you step up. 
Even where you come to him and apply for the opening, you 
still are a free agent and (theoretically anyway) can sell 


yourself elsewhere. You have bargaining power. You can 
get a better definition of the rights and obligations of your 

If you step up, what happens is this: One day the Big 
Boss calls you in and says, "You are »ow personnel direc- 
tor." Sometimes no more than that. I was honored with a 
lengthier statement. The assistant to the Big Boss, a friend 
of mine, sent for me and said, "You are now personnel di- 
rector. Just see that we don't have any headaches." Since 
then I have been like a doctor: I have buried my mistakes 
whenever I could. I certainly have absorbed a lot of head- 
aches, but I am happy to say that the general management 
has never had to cope with a big one that came through me. 
I have been able to keep my big mistakes off the record. I've 
made plenty. 

Whether you step up or step in, do all you can to get a 
statement of policy and procedure in writing. It is easier to 
get it at the start, especially if you step in. The reason for 
this is obvious. If a personnel department is worth its salt, 
it dips into every other department in the business in one 
way or another. Only when you send down the perfect ap- 
plicant willing to work for the minimum wage are you looked 
on as a benefactor. The rest of the time the opinion of you 
ranges all the way from a busybody to a so-and-so. Hence, 
to make it possible for you to do good work without too much 
conflict, get the cachet of the Big Boss to a statement of 
what is expected of you and your department. This is your 
Magna Charta. 

A Magna Charta is no good unless everyone affected by it 
knows its provisions. So the Big Boss should send a memo- 
randum to every department head stating just what he ex- 
pects the personnel department to do under your leadership 
and "bespeaking" the cooperation of all. If "bespeaking" 
means "you do this — or else tell me why," the new personnel 
director will get somewhere. If it is just a verbal mouthing 
without teeth, then you are just the old superclerk and no 


Would You Pick Yourself for the Position? — Put your- 
self in the place of the Big Boss. Look down from his lonely 
pinnacle and say whether or not you would pick yourself 
for the position of personnel director. What is the back- 
ground of the man m- woman for whom we can predict suc- 
cess? Have you that background, that early patterning, 
that education, that interest in people? 

This book is written primarily for the man or woman who 
has not been a personnel director. I just happen to be the 
one who is doing it. It is easy to write. As a man once said 
of Shakespeare's plays, "Anybody could write them. All 
you have to do is to string a lot of quotations together." 

It is the same with a book on personnel work. All you do 
is to write down a lot of things people already know. Per- 
sonnel directors deal with human nature, and everyone 
thinks he knows all about that until he starts to read Fluegel 
or Deutsch or even Irwin Edman, who for the ordinary mor- 
tal is far more readable than the other two. 

I am not going to debate with you whether or not a per- 
sonnel director should have been graduated from a college. 
There is no answer to that question any more than there is 
to the question whether or not a dramatic school is necessary 
background to make a good actor or a school of journalism 
to make a good newspaperman. What counts is whether 
the man learned to exercise judgment and to act. Some learn 
by ciphering with a piece of chalk on a shovel in front of an 
open fire. Some learn in college. 

What about a man who has had a personnel course in col- 
lege? Good material, but material that must be seasoned. 
No recent graduate should be turned loose in a personnel de- 
partment without close supervision. He needs guided prac- 
tice. Experience is the best finishing school, and the Big 
Boss should not turn over personnel for a fledgling graduate 
to practice on as personnel director. 

A few years ago a Big Boss in New York with five or six 
hundred employees hired a young woman as personnel di- 
rector. She was young in years, devoid of practical experi- 


ence, but strong on theory. How she sold herself for the 
job is not part of this story. Miss Jane Doe nearly wrecked 
the company. As it had a decentralized setup, several 
months passed before the Big Boss got wise to the havoc she 
was creating. She said to the secretary who practically ran 
the purchasing department, "Why, you don't belong in Pur- 
chasing. The tests I have given you show that you should 
be in Claims." 

So Mary was moved to Claims, where she was unhappy 
and not too efficient because of the grievance she nursed. 

Department by department, Miss Jane Doe visited with 
her personnel version of the game of musical chairs. Finally, 
when the business had slowed to a walk, the Big Boss saw a 
great light and fired the young lady. 

It does not matter what your family background is, if it 
has helped to make you alert and efficient, long-suffering and 
kind, firm and patient. All these good qualities make a large 
order for an executive, but not too large an order for a per- 
sonnel director. He has to stand for more than any other 

Remember the stuffy dinner celebrating the settling of 
Plymouth Colony? All the men at the speakers' table talked 
about the hardships the Pilgrim Fathers had suffered, about 
their struggles with disease and famine and the aborigines. 
Finally, the one woman at the table proposed a toast : "Here's 
to the Pilgrim Mothers. They had to stand all the Pilgrim 
Fathers stood, and then they had to stand the Pilgrim Fa- 
thers too." 

I feel that good personnel directors are the Pilgrim 
Mothers of the business world. They have to stand all the 
hardships the executives stand — and then they have to stand 
the executives too. 

Are you interested in people? If you are too young, you 
are interested only in yourself. If you are too old, you are 
interested only in taking your ease at life's inn. You can 
do your best personnel work between these two extremes — 
when you are old enough to be experienced and young 


enough to be flexible, when you are an introvert in judg- 
ment on persons and events and an extrovert in dealing face 
to face with the individual and the group. 

I never expect to meet in the flesh this perfect personnel 
director. There is no such animal, any more than there is a 
Platonic universal form. But as the old maid said at con- 
fession, "I like to talk about him." 

Of course there is no need to ask you to rate yourself, to 
search your soul to see if you should take the position, if you 
say to yourself, "I must get this berth somehow because I 
need the money." No holds are barred if you are out for a 
place on the pay roll because you have to eat. Go ahead and 
land it, but sleep with this book under your pillow. 

What You May Expect To Do. — The personnel director 
has to be a master of all trades, not a jack. He has to be as 
successful in as many directions as a successful farmer. In 
the course of a day he may operate in a dozen fields. Don't 
let this early resume frighten you. 

Among other things he has to know about recruiting, test- 
ing, training media, personnel procedures, salary administra- 
tion, job evaluation, employee public relations, benefit pro- 
grams, industrial safety and health, recreational activities, 
union contracts and demands, statistics, and, last but not 
least, women. And it will not hurt him to know psychology, 
provided he does not try to use too little knowledge along 
psychiatric lines. 

A Personal Word. — As will be quite evident, the opinions 
expressed in this book are my own. They may or they may 
not express the opinions or outline the practices of my man- 
agement. Indeed, sometimes they do not. What those may 
be is neither here nor there. Also, since this book is written 
for anyone to read, I do not wish to have a word in it that is 
not understood by everyone. That is why I hope to avoid 
personnel jargon, which is as bad as psychological jargon or 
legal jargon or any other jargon. If I cannot avoid it alto- 
gether, I shall keep it to a minimum wherever it might creep 
in. If I were writing a book for professionals, the style would 


be different, staid, probably stodgy. It is surprising how dull 
professional treatises can be. 

There are no footnotes in this book. I do not believe in 
them. This type of exposition does not have to be bulwarked 
by authority. It is its own authority. As for the findings 
and directives of commissions and boards and even laws 
themselves, to quote them would be to date the book in short 
order. What is written here is common law, not statute law. 



You have said "I will" to the Big Boss and the honey- 
moon is on. You are now personnel director. What hap- 
pens next? A survey of the position. Call it "job" if you 
wish. There are tangibles and intangibles. Take stock of 

If you take over a going department, you have to study 
your office space, get acquainted with your staff, absorb as 
much as you can of company policy you do not already know, 
talk with your predecessor if there is one and if he is avail- 
able, and keep the turning gears greased while you get a 
firmer and firmer hand on the steering wheel. 

Don't Expect the Millennium by This Time Next Year. — 
New Year's resolutions would be wonderful if we kept them. 
Fortunately for most of us, we can't, so sensible people do 
not make them. No more should a new personnel director 
make high resolves to do this and that and the other immedi- 
ately and then proceed to attack all along the line. 

The trouble with unbalanced reformers is that they expect 
too much too soon. The Big Boss can expect too much too 
soon, but he has the brute power of command where the per- 
sonnel director has only the guile of the serpent and the 
weak wing of the dove. Yet even the Big Boss cannot im- 
mediately bring in the expected millennium on an efficiency 
basis where he is bucking customs of the trade, employee sus- 
picion, customer habit, and the cussed inertia of rugged in- 
dividuals who studied under Moran and Mack and stump 
you with the classic finality, "Even if it was good I wouldn't 
like it." 

Foot over foot the dog went to Dover. That is something 
for the new personnel director to remember. 


Study the Layout of Your New Offices. — The time to get 
your office space properly laid out is when you take over. 
Everything may be all right "as is," but if you feel that it is 
not, now is the time to speak. 

The one thing you must strive for in your offices is an at- 
mosphere of friendliness. Too many personnel offices are 
terrible. In the course of a year the personnel department 
represents the "tone" of the whole organization to thousands 
of persons. Since many persons never get beyond the per- 
sonnel department offices, your surroundings and what you 
say and do are the only direct advertisers of your company 
to them. Be pleasant. Have a pleasant office. 

While recognizing their utility, I always resent the iron- 
pipe railings and runways where common laborers shape up 
for casual employment. I resent particularly those small 
windows with sliding panels which disdainful clerks jerk up 
long enough to snap "No hiring today" and then crash down 
again. After all, we are dealing with human beings and we 
should treat them as such. Do not think I expect manage- 
ment to get an interior decorator to streamline the place with 
chromium, but I must say that too many times hiring offices 
remind me of those terrible company-owned coal-mine vil- 
lages you sometimes see from train windows. 

So make your new offices friendly. If the department is a 
large one, you should have a private office (even if it is small, 
try to have one), but you should also have a desk out in the 
big room. A private office is necessary for study or confer- 
ence, for the reception of distinguished guests, for very pri- 
vate telephone calls, and — while your secretary stands guard 
outside — for practice of your golf stance and swing with a 
rolled umbrella. The rest of the time you should be at the 
friendly desk outside. 

There has to be a railing, of course, to keep applicants, 
many of whom are untrained in office etiquette, from stroll- 
ing over and breathing on the necks of working members of 
your staff. I prefer a railing to windows, through which too 
many interviews are conducted. It may require a certain 


graciousness for a preliminary interviewer to turn an appli- 
cant away at the railing, but what good is a personnel de- 
partment without graciousness? 

Why so friendly an atmosphere? Because you are dealing 
with too many persons who are in trouble. Nearly everyone 
who calls seeking a job is nervous, under a strain. Some are 
desperately in need of work. Some of your own employees 
are desperately in need of help. They should not find you in 
an office that breathes antagonism or even indifference. 

Where the business is so small or well organized that you 
do not have much traffic, I think everyone who calls should 
have the right to have a word with the personnel director 
himself. That is why he should be out in the open, easily 
identifiable. He knows more than any of his assistants, and 
sometimes he can make a suggestion or telephone someone 
who can take on the applicant in case he cannot. 

Making friends for the firm? Sure. But if that is not the 
"set" of your own mentality anyway, then I don't think you 
should be a personnel director. If a great bank were to make 
me chairman of the board of a corporation where I was not 
known to the rank and file, the first thing I would do would 
be to put on a neat but threadbare suit and go to my new 
plant and apply for a minor white-collar job. The next day, 
I would put on a cap and go to the gate and apply for a 
laborer's job. I might learn a lot. 

While You Learn, the Work Must Go On. — When you 
take over a personnel department already functioning, the 
wheels will be in motion. The State Department in Wash- 
ington and the Foreign Office in London change secretaries 
and ministers, but the same civil servants keep right on 
grinding out the work. Where routine is concerned it does 
not matter who is at the top, Republican or Democrat, Con- 
servative or Labor ite. Political policy changes seldom affect 
the rank and file. 

A personnel department is the same. The arrival of a 
new director should not immediately affect the flow of rou- 
tine. In time he may decide on a new channel, but if he 


is wise he will get it by erosion and not by avulsion. Just 
ponder that dictum a moment. It may save you many a 

The first thing to do is to get some grasp of the routine. 
Not the minutiae but the general scheme of its organization 
— the incomings and outgoings of forms and reports, the 
handling of applicants, and the dealings with gripes and 
questions of employees. 

A new personnel director can make a nuisance of himself 
by a "picky" manner in asking questions of his new staff. 
Everybody likes to feel superior, and you can leave even your 
file clerk in a pleasant glow after your first visit if you have 
been eager to learn, coloring your talk with something to 
admire about the work being done. Remember, this is still 
the honeymoon period. 

Varnish with interest those good old stand-by questions 
which are useful all through life from the kindergarten to 
the Supreme Court. Why? When? What? Who? How? 
Where? But do not spring them all at once. It is usually 
better to make two trips to the source than to crowd every 
question into one dip of the bucket. 

As you look and listen, if you are puzzled by the way some- 
thing is done, ask yourself one of these six questions. Why? 
Usually there is a reason. The operation may have a valid 
motivation which you do not immediately recognize. Think- 
ing may show you what it is. Again, the operation may be 
by now a fossilized form which should be cut out. Or it 
may be something between the two : something slowed down 
by an arthritic deposit through the years. 

Learn Who's Who Quickly. — If you step into the organ- 
ization from outside, one of the first things you should do is 
to learn as much as you can as quickly as you can about per- 
sonnel. In this statement may be the epitome of all the laws 
and the prophets. Why? Because most personnel problems 
are uncompleted equations of social relationships The more 
you know about a person, the better your grasp of a problem 
in which that person is a factor. 


Do not get downhearted when I tell you that it will take 
you several years to learn all the paths in the maze of office 
and plant relationships. The proper way is to start your 
study at the top, because you must know management first. 
As the pilot told the youthful Mark Twain, who was learn- 
ing the Mississippi, "You've got to know this river like you 
know the front hall at home in the dark." 

From management you come down to department execu- 
tives. These are important to know, their strong points, 
their weak points, and all the imperfections in their heads, 
because you will have many a test of strength with most of 
them. Prior knowledge of their armor and its flaws may win 
the day for you. Your own artillery is knowledge and the 
proper use of it. 

Take the rank and file in your stride later, when you come 
to them. Learn first the stories of the salty characters who 
stand out as individuals. Many of them should have been 
fired long ago, but for some reason or other they were not. 
Those reasons are valuable for you to know. They probably 
will explain other things. The stories will be little sparkles 
in the mosaic that is the picture of the company. Often these 
employees are good haters with caustic tongues. 

Parenthetically, I admire many a good hater when he is 
vocal about it. He is honest in his hate and forthright in his 
scorn. You know where he stands. He gets so much pleas- 
ure out of it. (And I get both pleasure and amusement out 
of listening to him.) As a life work he feels that harboring a 
good hate is more fun than carrying around three quarts of 
the milk of human kindness. 

Find Out about Your Predecessor. — If there was some 
one before you as personnel director, find out all you can 
about him. Many of your first moves should depend on 
what he did or did not do. If he did a good job, you cannot 
at first be yourself. You are walking in his shadow. Your 
staff automatically is still following his lead. Habit is as 
strong among employees as among cows in a dairy herd. Try 
to get a cow to put her head between the stanchions of a stall 


not her own. You have to twist her tail. Unfortunately, 
you cannot do that to change a personnel department em- 
ployee's routine. 

If you have no predecessor, if you are organizing the de- 
partment, that is your good luck. You have no hampering 
tradition. You can be yourself and chart the course from 
the start. The reason the infant Johns Hopkins University 
so quickly became the outstanding leader of American higher 
education two generations ago was because it had no tradi- 
tion to revere, no antediluvian professors to placate. Na- 
poleon once said, "I am my own ancestor." If you can be 
your own ancestor as personnel director, you may be able to 
begin a wonderful piece of work immediately. 

But suppose you can't be your own ancestor. Then the 
quiddities you inherit may take a bit of doing to suppress or 
circumvent. If your predecessor is still around when you 
arrive or if you can get hold of him, pump him for all he is 
worth. Whether he is going out under a cloud or in a blaze of 
glory, you can learn a lot. From what he has to say it will 
be easy for you — if you really have the intuition a personnel 
director should have — to tell why he failed or why he suc- 

The company had eighteen hundred employees. The 
young man who was being eased out of the position of per- 
sonnel director, which he had held for a few months on a trial 
basis, said to his successor, "What will drive you crazy here 
is that there is absolutely nothing to do." 

With that one remark he revealed his ignorance and the 
reason for his failure. His successor has never known a dull 
moment, he tells me. 

When You Start from Scratch. — On balance you are 
lucky, as I said a few paragraphs back, to have the assem- 
bling of a staff and the development of a personnel program 
ab initio. Starting from scratch has more advantages than 
drawbacks. There are as yet few hatchet men lurking in the 

When you are delegated by the Big Boss to gather together 


in one department functions previously handled by other de- 
partments, correlate them, and train a staff to handle them, 
the time has come for you to get that Magna Charta I have 
told you that you should have. This is a blueprint from 
management saying exactly what you can do and also a man- 
date from management making clear to one and sundry, to 
high and low, that you and no other department must do 
these and these things. 

All this must be clear throughout office and plant. Re- 
member that few executives like to be relieved of authority, 
even when it cuts down their bill for aspirin tablets. Old 
power is hoarded. Old habits of control die hard. 

Starting from scratch means assembling a staff. You can- 
not come in from outside and at once bring in outsiders to 
make up your working force. Be clever. Requisition some- 
one from the accounting staff to handle your paper work, 
someone who handled the paper work that now comes to you. 
Take from the office manager someone who assisted him in 
hiring office employees. Somewhere out in the plant is a 
young man who is keenly alive to what goes on out there. Get 
him. Then promote to a position as your secretary some 
young woman who is pleasant and industrious, one who has 
been with the company long enough to know about it all that 
a lady should know — and maybe a little bit more. 

A large order, you say. Of course it is. But you have a 
large job ahead of you. You can afford to take time. Take 
time in selecting the members of your staff and you save 
much time later. 

Don't! Don't!! Don't!!! — You are now surveying your 
new position. That is what this chapter is about. The time 
has come to give you a few don'ts. It is all very well to say 
that we must be positive and not negative. A whole high- 
powered literature of business success is built on the axiom. 
But for a personnel director many a negative is stronger than 
a positive. Knowing what not to do is often far more valu- 
able and arresting as a reminder than thinking in terms of 
positive pronouncements. 


I am one with the type of mind that thinks it is absolutely 
silly for a grown man to have exposed on his desk some short 
commandment as "Think!" or "Do It Now!" To me he is 
in the class with the salesman who can do his best only when 
he is a member of the Blue Team or the Red Team. The 
other side has sold seven more radiator valves, the score is 
now 2,197 to 2,184 against him, and he must sell old man 
Rogers in Vincennes tomorrow one gross of ice picks so his 
side can pick up thirty points and gain the lead. 

Perhaps I am being too hard. Maybe I am shooting 
through one of my blind spots. There must be many persons 
of the team-competition type of mind, of course, or there 
would not be so many sales managers sitting up nights to run 
such contests (and maybe salting the scores!) and so many 
firms selling such contest plans to sales managers who can- 
not think up their own. There are times when contests are 
valuable among store or factory personnel. Here I am talk- 
ing about the "Think!" and "Do It Now" boys. 

I have no business digressing to talk about the "Think!" 
thinkers and the home-run-scoring radiator-valve salesmen, 
but these thoughts were in my system and had to come out. 
Perhaps this place is as good as any. 

Well, perhaps I had in mind to tell you that instead of 
"Do It Now!" you should memorize the following eight 
don'ts but should not have them stuck on the walls of your 
office as mottoes or perched on your desk as intellect 

1. Don't Be an Unsympathetic Listener. 

To applicants, you are the company. To employees, you 
are an escape valve or a grindstone for the ax that should 
or should not be ground. Incidentally, you will be surprised 
how many will turn up who could not put the bite on your 
predecessor or the office manager or some executive, with the 
hope you will be easy pickings. Yet don't be unsympathetic 
when they tell their stories. Suffer fools and sharpers pleas- 


2. Don't Let Your Heart Dictate. 

From the start you must be as objective as a trained social 
worker. Often you are a social worker. Don't make an em- 
ployee's problem one you must take home with you. Don't 
let a hard-luck story affect your judgment. Metaphorically 
speaking, you must not be the surgeon who cries so hard 
while performing an appendectomy that he forgets to count 
the sponges and sews up the incision with a sponge still snug- 
gled in the place where the appendix used to be. 

3. Don't Lend Money. 

Here again you must not let sympathy get the better of 
you. If the word gets out that you are good for a touch, you 
are going to have more of them than Job had boils. The 
gamut runs all the way from the worthy indigent to the un- 
worthy "gimme" boy. Send the former to a charity center. 
Send the latter — well, don't send him. Just tell him where 
to go. The best out is to say convincingly: "I'd love to help 
you, but there's just one definite thing the Big Boss made me 
promise when he appointed me personnel director. He made 
me swear not to lend money to anyone who calls here. So I 
can't do a thing for you." 

(Exception : — If a bum comes along and tells a story that 
you know is not true and he knows you know it is not true 
but you enjoy the story and he enjoys telling it to you, then 
give him a quarter. You charge that up not to charity but to 
entertainment. And, again, if you walk to the elevator with 
a particularly desperate case and, when no one is looking, 
slip him a dollar or two, then you will be doing exactly what 
I do, rule or no rule.) 

4. Don't Sell Yourself a Bill of Goods Too Soon. 

Reserve your judgment. There are two sides to a story. 
Sometimes three. As you survey your job, you will hear 
many things. It will take time to segregate this information 


under such headings as Truthful, Humorous, Misapplied, 
Untruthful, Understated, Exaggerated, Malicious. 

5. Don't Pronounce Judgments till You Know. 

The don't just before this was internal. This one is ex- 
ternal. You are dealing with human relationships. When 
you are new to the company or even only new to the position, 
a snap judgment may be harmful. 

6. Don't Start Working with a Group till You Know. 

You are sizing everyone up, but remember that everyone 
in turn is sizing you up. Don't start working with a group 
till you can command the discussion. The most sickening 
thing that can happen to a new personnel director is to pre- 
side over a special plant committee and find the play taken 
away by some canny foreman who can quote chapter and 
verse to wither your position. 

7. Don't Read Too Much or Too Fast. 

Take personnel literature slowly. Francis Bacon said that 
some few bo©ks are to be chewed and digested. He must 
have been thinking about books on personnel work. Many 
of them are too heavy. You wear out your teeth chewing 
on them and then they ruin your digestion. Don't buy half 
a dozen ponderous tomes and dive helter-skelter into the 
complicated jargon of the professors. Friar Laurence was 
right. "Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast." 

By all means subscribe for a couple of personnel maga- 
zines. I read most of "Industrial Relations" each month. 
I also read much of the "Personnel Journal" of the Personnel 
Research Foundation. Learn the grammar of the business 
before you start on the authors who write books for the pur- 
pose of getting ahead. I don't expect to get ahead with this 
book. All I expect is that some professors will try to give me 
an awful drubbing for what I have just said. 


8. Don't Get Angry. 

You will have plenty of provocation, but keep your tem- 
per. Two persons cannot be angry at the same time and 
have the discussion get anywhere. If one person gets angry, 
don't you be that one. Few persons can be more foolish, 
fatuous, and futile than the angry man. 

You can call the eight don'ts the personnel director's 
Octalogue, but if you do nobody will know what you are 
talking about. However, they are good for you to know. 

Acquaint Yourself with Your Sources of Information. — 
As quickly as you can, work out your intelligence service. 
There are sources licit and illicit. The former are often dull 
and authoritative. The latter are often piquant and amus- 
ing. Do not regard a journey to the illicit as a snooping ex- 
pedition. Many times you can tap such sources without 
their knowing it. 

There are sources of labor supply that you must learn. 
Business colleges, parish priests, school placement services, 
employment agencies, newspaper classified columns. These 
are some of your labor sources that you must know as sci- 
entifically and artistically as a composer knows the tonal 
possibilities of each instrument in a symphony orchestra. 

From one employment agency you get the better grade 
secretaries. From another you get run-of-the-mill file clerks. 
One newspaper will bring five or six answers to a blind ad. 
Another will bring fifty or sixty. 

It is also important to know where to get information 
about charitable services without delay. You will be sur- 
prised at the questions you are asked by employees, ques- 
tions all the way from where to hospitalize a child with foot- 
and-mouth disease to how to get a divorce for $60. 

Join a Personnel Management Group. — The successful 
lone wolf has to be a mean wolf. Be gregarious. Travel with 
the pack. It is more fun and you can accomplish more the 
easy way. It is astonishing how meeting a man at weekly 
or monthly luncheons or dinners will pay dividends when 


sometime you get him on the telephone with anguish in your 

I don't say this because I think in this way you will get 
something for nothing. If you try to, I hope you don't suc- 
ceed. I am just saying that friendliness begets friendliness. 
The older you get, the more you will regret the friendships 
you never made. 

How To Know When the Honeymoon Is Over. — When 
you take over as head of the personnel department, everyone 
is outwardly and ostentatiously cooperative. If you have 
come from outside and have been a good bargainer, the Big 
Boss has arranged for you to have just what you have asked 
for to facilitate your work. You are the white-haired boy in 
a glamorized setting. 

Don't let Stardust get in your eyes. Don't think you are 
going to have a perpetual honeymoon. Yet I grant you, even 
with its disappointments and hard work and often too mea- 
ger rewards, you are engaged in what many men and women 
regard as the most satisactory vocation in all the business 

Comes the day when you discover to your chagrin that 
your much-admired Big Boss has announced a change of hir- 
ing policy to some minor department without first telling 
you ; that a department head has sent out a scout of his own 
to recruit ten spinners instead of requisitioning them through 
you ; and that a business agent has bulled his way into your 
private office to bellow the news, "If you don't install better 
terlet seats pronto in the women's room on the third floor^, 
I'll have to pull the women of my union out." 

On that day you'll know that the honeymoon is over.* 



What fish are to the fisherman, applicants are to a person- 
nel director. Some fish you haul in with a net, others you 
catch with a hook, and still others you allegedly shoot in a 
barrel. In getting prospects to apply, the state of the labor 
market largely determines the method to be pursued by the 
personnel director. Some prospects, and often the best ones, 
do not apply. These you must go after. 
j^_ The Best Bait for Recruitment. — How do prospective 

employees get to your door? You can advertise, you can 
send scouts, you can deliver pep talks to high-school and col- 
lege classes, you can tap dozens of other sources, but the best 
source of all should be the one that has usually been years in 
developing — the policy of your company in regard to the 
pay and welfare of those who work for it. 

Not your own efforts then but the standing of your own 
organization may be the best bait for recruitment. If appli- 
cants do not come because your company has a reputation 
for unfairness, then your biggest job is with management. 
I don't envy you that herculean labor. 

Nothing is tougher for a personnel director than trying to 
prove that liberal labor relations make sense to a reactionary 
president or an operating vice-president or to the members 
of a.board of directors who have been sleepwalking since the 
days of the Haymarket riots. 

Unless a worker is a dull brother to the ox, he knows what 
companies in his community offer him humane working con- 
ditions and wages. Those companies can skim the cream of 
the market. If your organization is not one of them, your 
uphill fight is to make it one. If you accomplish this, you 
have done your fellow men a service. 



Know the Positions You Will Be' Called Upon to Fill. — 
When you take over as personnel director have a clear under- 
standing, if you can, of the domain in which you are king 
when it comes to hiring. The limits are almost as wide as 
the business world itself. 

Some personnel departments send a new employee when 
one is requisitioned, and that new employee must be taken 
on. Others send several likely candidates, leaving the final 
selection to the supervisor or the foreman. This practice is 
usually the one when white-collar workers are hired for small 
departments. Each person here employed is in sight of the 
supervisor and in frequent contact with him and all others. 
It is best that the final word be the supervisor's. There is a 
personal relationship different from the sturdy give-and- 
take of the shop or warehouse or foundry. Personally, I 
think the foreman should always have the power of veto, no 
matter what the department. 

You may be limited by management to hiring only the 
employees below a certain salary level. You may be limited 
to certain departments. Union contracts are frequently lim- 
iting, especially when all union members are certified by the 
union to have a certain standard of skill. In such a case the 
worker is hired under the contract provision, and the person- 
nel department is not concerned in the hiring. 

One personnel department may be empowered to hire 
employees earning up to $2,600 a year. Again, a corporation 
with a world-wide field and thousands of employees may 
authorize its personnel department to select and sign con- 
tracts with men earning $10,000 a year. However, such or- 
ganizations are not within the purview of this book. 

The one thing important to say here is that you must 
know exactly the range of your hiring authorization. And, 
as I have said before, all and sundry, high and low, should 
know it too and respect it. 

Some men and women come to you whose standing, skill, 
and desires put them outside your pale. When such a per- 
son is an applicant, it is for you to put the record before the 


proper executive with a request to know if an interview is 
desired. If it is, you arrange for it. If it is not. then you 
must tell the applicant that there is no use in pursuing the 
matter further at this time. 

He would be a very powerful personnel director, indeed,, 
no doubt ranking as a vice-president, who in a 1,000- to 2,000- 
employee organization could dictate the hiring of such men 
as senior salesmen or branch managers. Where a personnel 
director is new to the field or is himself not of the high caliber 
of the men to be hired, my opinion is that management 
would be ill advised to permit him to have the last word. 
Advice about a senior salesman? Yes, when asked. That 
is all. The same goes for any other employee whose standing 
is on a level with salesmen who are tops in salary, tops in 
the estimation of management, and tops in the eyes of the 

Knowledge of Job Analysis a Must. — Except when deal- 
ing with expert technicians, you must come to know more 
than the applicant does about the type of work for which he 
offers himself. A modern business should have a written 
analysis of each job — in brief or in more comprehensive form, 
depending on its importance. You cannot write a good ad- 
vertisement or answer a letter of application with fidelity to 
the entire truth if you do not have completely in your mind 
a full picture of the operations involved and the skill re- 

If your company has no such analyses, then it is your duty 
as personnel director to get them or to arrange for a survey 
to get them. This is a matter to be taken up with manage- 
ment. It may be that your company has a separate labor 
relations division to which this work can be delegated. For 
the prestige of your department you should make an effort 
to direct the making of these analyses if you are capable of 
doing so. Failing that, you have a right to be chagrined and 
mortified if no consultative opportunity is offered you. 

This is not the place for a discussion of job analysis. It is 
only mentioned here to impress you with the confidence you 


will have and the sincerity you will indubitably radiate if 
you know exactly what you want when you are searching for 
a new employee. 

Types of Workers. — Nearly every large division of em- 
ployees can be broken down into many classifications and 
subclassifications. You must learn them all. Learn too 
where to find prospective workers quickly and economically 
for replacements or additions. "Quickly" and "econom- 
ically" are words with fluctuating values depending on the 
state of the labor market. 

The types of workers you will be called upon to supply 
should be always in mind as you are learning your way about 
your new personnel department. You may be called on to 
supply office workers, skilled laborers, restaurant help, minor 
executives, semiskilled and rough labor, part-time workers, 
and seasonal casual labor. 

These diverse demands will test your ingenuity and, when 
turnover is suddenly large, overflow the channels of routine 
of your department. Each one of these divisions may re- 
quire a hiring technique differing from those necessary to 
get the best for the others. 

The casual laborer is the only one who may not require 
personnel office attention. That is when he shapes up out in 
the plant and is paid on a special work sheet. Probably only 
in cases where one of these men does not have a Social Se- 
curity account number do you come into the picture. How- 
ever, one difficulty, which may come months and even years 
later, arises when your casual laborer on being employed else- 
where states on his application sheet that he once worked for 
your company. There is no record, you discover, when you 
are asked for a reference. An insistent demand, as happens 
when a man is being taken on for government work, means a 
long accounting department search of pay rolls long since 

What Is the Right Age for an Applicant? — Father Time 
is a thief. He is a Robin Hood, stealing from the old to give 
to the young. No decisions you make will be more distress- 


ing than those involving age. The typical company follows 
the herd. Self-interest dictates. The company plays safe. 
"We who are about to die salute you." That is all many 
companies permit the old to do. Salute — from the sidewalk. 

Humanitarians write essays and make speeches to other 
humanitarians, while hardheaded businessmen go right on 
leaving the old on the shelf. You cannot indict a nation. 
No more can I indict a nation's business, commerce, and in- 
dustry. But I can say that the hiring of capable middle- 
aged and old persons has not come to my attention as a gen- 
eral practice except under wartime pressure. 

What is the self-interest that dictates? The fear of be- 
ing stuck with a doddering employee ten or fifteen or twenty 
years hence. The larger premium to be paid on a group in- 
surance policy. The possibility of having to pay prolonged 
sickness disability benefits. And, a natural enough fear in 
an economy of production for profit, the fear that the man's 
production will fall below that of younger men. That raises 
the unit cost of his output. 

What should we ask of management with the life expect- 
ancy lengthened so amazingly in the last forty years? We 
should ask the business world to lengthen the span of what 
it has considered the productive years. It is outrageous that 
there must be created in these civilized times such a job- 
finding service as a Forty Plus Club. 

I sat within fifteen feet of Dr. William Osier when he 
made the celebrated speech in which he was reported to have 
said that men over forty should be chloroformed. Of course 
he never said it in serious vein, but a witty digression was 
solemnly reported as the great man's considered opinion. 
So several weak-minded, depressed men over forty promptly 
committed suicide. The more fools they. Dr. Osier, the 
world's greatest physician of his day, knew full well that a 
man's va€ue is not decreasing as fast as is the sand that runs 
through Time's hourglass. 

One of the tough old pine knots of our company lived to 
more than eighty years and died in harness. To the last he 


did a day's work as well as any man twenty years his junior. 
To the last he loved a bawdy tale and a tumbler of hot but- 
tered rum. 
^< Getting back to your problem with age as a factor in place- 
ment, I hope you will give the older men and the older 
women a greater chance. You will find them steadier, more 
dependable. I have to admit that some of them are not as 
pliant or as compliant as you would like them to be. But on 
balance I speak a good word for them. Let us say to them 
with the stout old Ulysses, "Old age hath yet his honour and 
his toil." 

One reason an executive requisitions a young office worker 
is that, as a rule, youth is paid less than maturity. The ex- 
ecutive is keeping down his pay roll. You cannot blame 
him for that. An older man has a family and responsibilities. 
He cannot take care of his obligations on less than a living 
wage for a family man. Even where there is an established, 
published wage scale, the more liberal members of manage- 
ment are a bit ashamed and uneasy at paying a low wage to 
an older man. If they are not, they should be. Further dis- 
cussion would take us too deep into business philosophy and 
business practice. All I can point out here is that there 
should be a humanitarian rule lengthening the work span in 
relation to the lengthened longevity span and hiring accord- 
ingly. All of us can do something in this crusade. Have the 
courage and the strength to do your share. 

Applicants from Schools and Colleges. — Having just dis- 
cussed age with undisguised sympathy, I hope I shall not be 
accused of sounding a too sour note when I speak of the 
young. The young are wonderful. I admire them and envy 
them. Then why are my thoughts of them somewhat on the 
sour side? Because in too many instances they have been 
so abominably trained. I am speaking now of young men 
and women who are applicants for positions. 

Abominably trained? Yes. The whole question "Why?" 
is so involved that a library of books would be required to 
find an answer. Too many young persons are victims of 


their homes and their schools. It is clearly apparent when 
they come as applicants to your office. 

When you send a clever representative to speak to school 
and college classes and to interview likely candidates for em- 
ployment by your company, you do not get in its entirety 
the picture of the tidal wave of youth that sweeps each year 
into the business world. Your hypnotic speaker and inter- 
viewer, directed by school authorities, sees only those who 
have aptitudes and ambitions that fit them for serious con- 

Where you see the pathetic instances of lack of prepara- 
tion to meet the conditions set by the business world is in 
your own office. The last semester before a boy or girl leaves 
school or college there should be an obligatory course on 
"How to Get a Job and Hold It." Such a course should be 
taught by someone who has had experience. It cannot be 
taught from a book — even this one. 

The course should teach students how to get into an office 
and how to get out, how to dress for an interview, how to sit 
on a chair, how to present one's qualifications (how to sell 
oneself), how to ask questions and what questions to ask. I 
was going to add, "This course should teach the prospective 
applicant how to use his thinking apparatus." Then I re- 
membered that his whole education was supposed to incite 
him to "curiosity and thinking.'' Picturing the day when 
most of them come in with disciplined intelligence is now 
only a personnel director's dream. 

Today the whole educational system is getting such a go- 
ing over that there is no need for me to put in my two cents 
about general improvement, but I do put in my two cents 
and in return for it demand education for everybody that 
will help him take his first step in our competitive world. 
One elderly, wise, and often harassed executive who some- 
times looks to me for help says plaintively, "I don't care how 
little they know if they only know how to use their heads." 
What a small percentage of the young who come to me know 


If you have time — provided you recruit youth in any num- 
bers — go once or twice a year to the schools and colleges near 
by that seem to have the material you need. If you cannot 
go, send someone who can represent your company more 
than adequately. When you are invited to attend a voca- 
tional conference in a school or college, go. These meetings, 
where speakers tell what opportunities there are in their vo- 
cations, take place a few weeks before school is over. From 
such meetings I have often got capable office boys and male 
and female junior clerks; applicants for minor positions have 
often visited me later. 

If the labor market is tight and you can employ pupils of 
a college or a high school in your community on a part-time 
basis, cultivate their placement bureaus. These pupils are 
more dependable for part-time work than are any others. 
The reason is that their hours away from work for you are 
scheduled and obligatory, whereas part-time workers not al- 
ready having the rest of their working time engaged are a 
great employment risk. They are almost certain to get a 
full-time position elsewhere, and then you have to do your 
hiring all over again. The pupil "stays put" until May or 
June. Then if he leaves, from among the other part-timers 
are enough wishing to work through the summer full time to 
carry you along till the schools open again. 

Applicants "at the Railing." — Applicants come to your 
attention at the railing of your office or by writing a letter. 
When the obviously unfit come, they must be courteously 
handled, but time cannot be wasted on them. They should 
never be invited into the enclosure where there are tables for 
applicants who have revealed in conversation that they 
should beallowed to fill out the first form. 

Many splendid citizens speak with an accent or intonation 
that betrays foreign birth or rearing in a home where a lan- 
guage other than English was spoken. Now it is a quaint 
characteristic of many "professional" Americans to translate 
their antagonism of things foreign into antagonism of the 
company employing the "foreigner." They forget their own 


ancestral origin ; they forget that their parents or grandpar- 
ents may have been foreigners too. Across the counter, and 
more particularly over the telephone, a voice betraying a Eu- 
ropean background is irritating to them. That irritation is 
transferred from the employee to the employer and magni- 
fied a hundredfold. 

Regardless of the reason for this state of mind, it must be 
present in your own mind with the first word the applicant 
speaks at the railing. If you have a job to be filled where a 
critical public is not concerned and where the employee 
group is indifferent to linguistic murder, perhaps the appli- 
cant is just the man you are looking for. 

I have not used the word "intolerance" more than once. I 
believe. I wish I did not have to use it at all. And that word 
now brings me to its opposite — tolerance. I hate it. To me, 
tolerance implies condescension. Why speak of "tolerat- 
ing" a fellow employee who has a different racial, economic, 
or color background? It is snobbish to do so. It smacks of 
condescension and patronage. The tolerator is arrogating to 
himself alleged superiority because of things which he did 
not himself create: birth, social position, herd prestige. 

I have great respect for actors. I think a fine actor is one 
of the wonders of the world. But the praiseworthy qualities 
that make a good actor make a poor worker in a humdrum 
pursuit. If a young actor or a youth from a dramatic school 
appears at the railing, treat him, as Hamlet enjoined Polo- 
nius, "after your own honour and dignity" — but do not give 
him a job. 

The young man may do the best acting of his career and 
sincerely believe that he is through with the stage forever 
when he asks for employment. With my own liking for the 
theater, I have occasionally been an old softy and given one 
of these youths a job. I think in each instance I have lived 
to regret it. What happens next is invariably this: From 
two weeks to two months later my young actor friend ap- 
pears and says, "George Abbott is casting for a Chicago com- 


pany of his latest play. I have a chance to get a part so I 
have to quit." 

Well, that's that. As for young actresses, pretty, viva- 
cious, utterly charming, they are far worse risks than young 

After one of our top executives dies, a man who people 
might think could put on the pay roll anyone he wished, 
there always appears at the railing a gaunt man or woman 
of the shabby genteel variety who informs me that only a 
short time before his death Mr. Topflight told him or her 
that he would give him or her a job. He or she has come to 
collect on this promise. 

Concealing as best I can the fish-eyed look I feel stealing 
over my visage, I am all sympathy. However, I have to say 
that Mr. Topflight is definitely dead and no longer able to 
make good on this offer which should have been snapped up 
while he was here to command. And the new vice-president 
in charge of gadget production is so new to the lofty position 
that he is leaving all hiring for the present to the personnel 
department and there is no opening. Sorry. 

It was a good try. I often wonder what politely hopeful 
word, what decidedly impersonal word the deceased had ut- 
tered that in retrospect made the applicant think a position 
had been offered and was waiting. I can always count on 
one or two such applicants turning up after we have a major 

See Any Applicant Who Comes with a Letter of Introduc- 
tion. — When the labor market is easy, a number of appli- 
cants will arrive at the railing with letters, notes, or cards of 
introduction. See them all. In this class I am not putting 
those whom you have requested some of your labor sources 
to recommend. I refer to the unsolicited letters. Very few 
applicants with such letters are worth a cent to you. 

Executives whose firms trade with your company, men 
who went to college with a cousin of the president of your 
company, prominent men in all walks of life are besieged 


by needy relatives and seedy acquaintances to get them 
jobs. Like death, these letter-of -introduction writers love a 
shining mark. And a personnel director is always a shining 
mark. So among the sheaf of letters given the importunate 
solicitor of influence is one to you. When a man or woman 
arrives with a letter, you have to do your stuff in person. 
No assistant in your department should be delegated to do it. 

Politicians will give members of their political club letters 
of introduction to you. The fact that Alderman McTough 
had to telephone your office to learn your name makes no dif- 
ference. From the tone of the letter the applicant can opine 
that you and McTough are bosom friends. Are you polite 
to the visitor? You certainly are. If the applicant had 
cause to carry back a bad report of the interview, McTough 
might get a friendly factory or fire-department inspector to 
slap a violation on you. Well, it could happen in some cities. 

Some letters of introduction are to the Big Boss or to Air. 
Topflight, and a wise secretary sends the letter and its 
bearer on to you. You are not to be overpowered by this 
approach. If the applicant is good and you have an open- 
ing, hire him. If he is not what you need, all he gets is a 
coirteous reception. There has been no indicated obliga- 
tion from above. This goes too for employees who send you 
hopeful friends and relatives and the hopeful friends and 
relatives of their friends and relatives. You are not ob- 

Letters of Application. — The letters you get asking for 
employment come from two sources, the letters that are 
self-initiated and those written in response to advertise- 
ments, usually blind advertisements. As no doubt you know, 
an open advertisement identifies the employer so that the 
applicant knows the company seeking workers. A blind ad- 
vertisement conceals the advertiser, and the applicant must 
write a letter stating his qualifications. This letter is ad- 
dressed to a box number in care of the newspaper publishing 
the advertisement. 

Interpreting a letter of application rewards whatever skill 


you can put into it. No matter what skill, you never be- 
come sure-fire at interpretation. Some persons write good 
letters and cannot live up to their own recommendations. 
Some persons probably have others write their letters for 
them. Remember that you must have in mind the capacity 
of the letter writer in relation to the job. You do not expect 
a steam-shovel operator to turn out a letter with the same 
rhetoric as a seasoned correspondence clerk. 

The best answer to a blind advertisement is one that sets 
forth the information requested and asks for an interview. 
When I write an advertisement asking for specific informa- 
tion and I do not get it in an answer, I throw the letter in 
the wastebasket. Already in the basket are the post cards 
that say "Please grant interview." If an applicant is not 
willing to tell something about himself to tease me to send 
for him, I am not curious enough to spend time on him. I 
also throw away an answer that says, "You offer $29 a week. 
I would be glad to take the position for $35 a week." 
4^ The best letter is a straightforward recital of facts. Yet it 
is surprising how many trick letters come; both in answer to 
blind advertisements and as direct applications. These have 
allegedly humorous openings or arresting "Stop ! Look ! and 
Listen!" openings. They leave me cold. Those just about 
to leave high school or college, or just out, are the worst let- 
ter writers of this variety. 

After high school and college there is a lull in the age scale 
until you get into the thirties when the letter writers break 
out again in a rash of strange letters, this time cynical, dis- 
illusioned. These are the people who have not made the 
grade. The career women of this age write better letters 
than the men. In their letters is the spirit of bravado and 
provocation. They are still maintaining to the world that all 
is well with them, but between the lines you can read the 
truth they have realized but, of course, will not admit. They 
are still trying to be brave. Too bad they betray themselves. 

Letters do get you a wider range of prospects, but I dis- 
courage those applicants who write from other cities. I do 


not wish the responsibility of bringing them on for what will 
most likely be a useless interview. Of course if you are not 
located where there is a large labor pool, you may have to 
send far afield for workers you need, but avoid doing so if 
you possibly can. 

If one hesitates to ask an applicant to travel three or four 
hours or more for an interview, the feeling of responsibility 
is increased immeasurably when a worker is hired from an- 
other city, pulls up stakes there, and brings his family to the 
new location. What if you discover in a month or two he is 
not making good? You certainly will feel "sunk." 

Know your town or city so well that when you get a letter 
of application you can tell something about the applicant 
just by looking at the address. The applicant's handwriting 
does not tell you much. You cannot read character from it. 
You can usually tell a child's writing or an elderly person's. 
You can hope the applicant is as good as his handwriting, but 
the best chirographer I know I regard as slightly balmy. 

Nonfee Employment Agencies. — There are countless gov- 
ernment employment agencies. Boards of education have 
placement bureaus. American Red Cross chapters some- 
times have employment divisions concerned for employment 
of veterans and members of their families. Typewriter com- 
panies sometimes maintain employment services. You can 
get help through the Salvation Army, the Y.M.C.A., the 
Y.M.H.A., and similar institutions. The New York Direc- 
tory of Social Agencies lists between forty and fifty nonfee 
agencies. These include placement services of charitable 
foundations and educational institutions. Some are special- 
ized, as those for the physically handicapped. 

Some personnel directors are in favor of hiring an em- 
ployee through a nonfee agency. Why put the financial 
burden of finding your opening on a new employee if you 
can help it? But telephoning one of these public or social 
service agencies has its drawbacks. The agency is usually 
more concerned with placing someone on its list than in see- 
ing that you get just the right worker. My experience is that 


it does not do a job as well as the fee agencies do it. Over 
the applicants come pell-mell, helter-skelter. You could 
think that all the agency cares about is making a record num- 
ber of engagements for applicants to call on employers. 

In hiring youngsters I get very good results from my re- 
quests to placement services of church schools. The girls are 
a little better than the boys. 

Private Employment Agencies. — One good source of ap- 
plicants is the private employment agencies. They take 
your order and try to find you the worker you have specified. 
An agency knows that its money depends on how good a job 
it does. Money is still a potent incentive in business, I am 
glad to say. 

Employment agencies sometimes specialize, particularly 
those in the larger cities. In time you will get to know which 
agency to use to get a comptometer operator and which 
should be used to get an experienced stuff er of dolls. An 
agency that specializes in secretarial, stenographic, and gen- 
eral female office help likes to have your account exclusively. 
What agency would not? 

There is much to be said in favor of the office-help agency 
serving you on an exclusive basis. It gets to know your hir- 
ing policy and your needs as well as you do yourself. It tele- 
phones you when a particularly good prospect comes into 
the office. To hold the account on an exclusive basis, it goes 
out of its way to take care of you. If there is no reason why 
your company should divide its employment agency orders 
among several, it will pay you to try out working exclusively 
with one. If you are human, the time may come when you 
get so annoyed with your agency for slowing down or some- 
thing that you will switch to another. But life is like that. 

Some employees just cannot help trying to chisel when it 
comes to paying the agency's fee. As a matter of honesty, 
you may have to go to bat for the agency. I called to my 
office one young woman to ask why she had not paid the fee. 

"Why, I was only in the employment office five minutes 
and they sent me over here." 


"Yes, but you got the job through the agency." 

"I know, but I was only in the office five minutes." 

What are you going to do with such a girl 9 I told the 
agency to put a stop on her pay, as it could do by law, but 
the woman running the agency said she did not like to do 
that. The girl quit soon, still owing the agency fee. Just a 

Applicants through Classified Advertising. — When I ar- 
rive in a city where I do not yet know my way about, the first 
"thing I do is to buy all the newspapers published there. I 
turn to the want-ad pages of the standard-sized newspapers 
and go through them. The outstanding newspaper in popu- 
lar appeal is the one with the most want ads, the most classi- 
fied advertising. 

The advantages of using a classified advertisment for help 
are speed with open ads and anonymity with blind ads. You 
must be careful in your wording of your advertisement. Use 
enough words to tell your story. A line or two more of space 
will not cost much and may save you a great deal of time 
because the extra words tend to keep away applicants who 
do not fit into the picture. 

Here is a warning. Now and then I let myself go with 
plenty of words in a blind advertisement, and when the an- 
swers come to me I find that I have painted the picture in 
too glowing colors. I get answers that indicate the appli- 
cants have found in the advertisement more glamour or more 
opportunity than the position offers. So be careful to look 
at the copy for your advertisement closely to make sure you 
have not oversold the opening. It is not fair to the persons 
who answer the advertisement when you have misrepre- 
sented, if only with a salesman's overenthusiasm. 

Be sure to put the amount of the compensation in the ad- 
vertisement and whether it is paid weekly or monthly. This 
is unnecessary where there is a well-established union wage 
for the work to be done and you advertise for a union man. 
You should also put the time the work is done each day and 
the number of hours worked each week. In a large city 


where the distances are great it is often wise to say in which 
district your office or plant is located. 

If you advertise in newspapers in other cities, go into 
greater detail than you do when advertising in your home 
city. You owe it to the applicant. 

The trade paper or journal of your business is a good ad- 
vertising medium for you for reaching certain classes of 
employees, from the grade of foreman up in the plant and 
from the grade of junior executive up in the office. Most 
trade papers have classified columns. You should read them 
as well as use them. Sometimes you find just the man you 
are looking for. 

This is as good a place as any to say what I think about a 
trade paper. A personnel director should subscribe to the or- 
gan of his industry or business. He should read it to keep 
abreast of what is going on of trade interest to management, 
to the employees, and most of all to himself. He should test 
the ambition of employees who still hope to "go places" by 
how they seek new ideas or practices in their trade journal. 
He should point out to those who do not read it the advan- 
tages which come from its study. 

Applicants from Your Prospect File. — One place where 
you find prospects for employment, a place I fear that is too 
often neglected, is your own prospect file. This builds up 
from letters you receive and from the interview sheets left 
with you by those who call at your personnel department. 
Unless the circumstances are exceptional (and then the ap- 
plication goes into a special file), these letters and interview 
sheets are kept for six months. Each should have some code 
letter or term to give your department's evaluation of the 

If you have many applications, it is well to divide them 
according to the positions desired. This system makes for 
timesaving. Whether so divided or not, each month's appli- 
cations should be filed separately and the sheets and letters 
alphabetized. If you send a sheet to a department head, it is 
safest to have a clerk put a slip in the file showing the sheet's 


location. This is really necessary only where the prospective 
employee can be used in another department as well. Usu- 
ally clerical employees can be put one place almost as well 
as another. 

Never throw a letter or interview sheet away until six 
months have passed, even if the applicant is impossible. I 
did it at first but I learned better the hard way. Here is what 
too often happens: The applicant leaves your desk. You 
have sized him up as impossible and thereupon drop his 
sheet into your wastebasket. 

The payoff starts building up to a climax when the appli- 
cant in great glee calls on some influential patron and says 
he has applied for a job to the personnel director of the Uni- 
versal See-Saw Company. The patron, of course, knows your 
Big Boss intimately, and while the applicant sits beside the 
desk the patron dictates this letter : 

Dear Tom: My old school friend Joe Zilch has just told me 
he has applied to your personnel department for a position. 
I have known Joe for forty years, etc., etc., etc. Anything 
you can do for him will put me eternally in debt to you. 

Well, when the Big Boss gets the letter, his secretary sends 
down for the interview sheet. You not only do not have it, 
but you have even forgotten the man and his visit. You 
have to do a lot of stammering and side-stepping and side- 
slipping to wriggle free of this situation. Be warned. I 
learned the hard way. 



An entire book could be written about the hiring inter- 
view. Much of it would be valuable. A great deal of it 
would be sonorous nonsense. In this chapter you will get 
some of the high lights of a hiring interview. You will have 
to develop your own system of handling the applicant once 
he is seated at your desk, but the hints given here may prove 
valuable to you. If your office is doing only a moderate 
turnover, you yourself should be able to do a great deal of 
interviewing of applicants. I do not think it is wise for you 
to leave it altogether to those under you. 

In the first place, you are a better interviewer than any of 
your assistants. So the applicants get the company's best 
hiring consideration, and the company obviously gets the 
best replacements and additions. In the second place, you 
yourself are getting the "feel" of the labor market when 
you interview. You can give opinions to the Big Boss or to 
anyone else with the certainty that you cannot command if 
your knowledge comes only from written reports to you or 
from talks with your interviewers. 

In the initial interview management and labor meet for 
the first time. Now the personnel director leaves that vague 
territory between the two where so much of the time he acts 
as an umpire or interpreter. Here he definitely is manage- 
ment. If he has good sense, he is enlightened management. 
If he does not have good sense, he should not be a person- 
nel director. 

Anything your department has done to bring in the appli- 
cant is but a preliminary to the interview. Now how you 
handle yourself and the man beside your desk is a test of you 


as well as a test of him. So many things are important for 
you to have in mind that in writing about them it is impos- 
sible to put all first things first. However, a great deal 
passes through your mind before you say a word, all of it 
based on what you see as the man approaches and seats him- 
self. What you have in mind we shall now discuss. 

Giving the Applicant the Once-over. — As the man comes 
toward you. the clothes he wears and how he wears them re- 
veal a great deal that may be useful for you to know. Work 
clothes tell their own story. Other apparel must be inter- 
preted. Two men can pay the same amount of money for 
their suits, but the garments will be so different in pattern. 
cut. and fit that the wearers are stamped with two diverse 
cultures by them. Age too plays a part in your visual ap- 
praisal. The man's carriage can be affirmative or negative. 

Even before the man speaks, you can often think: minor 
executive, shipping clerk, skilled craftsman, salesman — with 
a degree of certitude. When it comes to his worth in money 
to his employer, you can look at him and come near to hitting 
his range: S25. 840. 850. It does not take any acumen to do 
this. How to do it is not a personnel secret. Practice. As 
you do it day after day. you get better at it. 

Don't let anyone sell you the idea that you can tell char- 
acter or capacity by studying a man's face. You cannot. 
Physiognomists cannot teach us anything infallible. Since 
you cannot expect to do much better than use your common 
sense and hope the laws of chance will give you a break, do 
not waste your time learning rules that classify faces and as- 
sign mental capacity and emotional predominance of certain 
kinds to them. 

It goes without saying that a handsome face is easier to 
look at than one roughhewn from granite or molded from 
dough. The only time you are really concerned with the de- 
gree of whatever corresponds to pulchritude in a young 
woman is when you wish a man to be in the public view and 
you believe the public wants this type of masculine face. 
Then by all means hire your Arrow Collar model and pray 


your hardest that he can also sell goods or pacify peevish 
women or what not. 

Sizing up a woman as she approaches your desk to apply 
for a job is a little harder. You have more things to itemize. 
Then too with $20,000-a-year designers working for the 
women's wear manufacturers, so many inexpensive dresses 
can give a distinctive air to a young woman that you can fool 
yourself at first glance. Until the styles of women's hats be- 
came screwy and cockeyed, I always sized up a woman by 
her hat. A hat of distinction could not be counterfeited. 
Hats of distinction no longer come into my office. They are 
all fantastic. 

Look at the costume jewelry, the shoes, the solidity of con- 
tour. Don't let an occasional bad application of rouge dis- 
turb you or even highly varnished fingernails, although they 
help tell a story. What bothers me most is lipstick. Too 
many put it on so badly that I cannot keep my mind on the 
interview for wondering how they can smear it on so atro- 
ciously. As for the mascara girls, I pass them up as quickly as 
possible. The heavy mascara girls. 

For heaven's sake, don't decide to hire a girl approaching 
your desk just because she is pretty. You are in a dollar s- 
and-cents business, and around an office beauty pays no such 
dividends as brains. A beautiful receptionist? Yes, but not 
unless she has more than beauty and curves to recommend 
her. A beautiful private secretary? Wait a minute. You 
may not be your brother's keeper, but if you wish a vice- 
president's home life to be peaceful, do not give him a secre- 
tary who will set his dowdy wife to wondering. If he is a 
vice-president who must have beauty, let him pick his secre- 
tary himself. He probably will do it anyway. 

You have three or four seconds perhaps to size up the ap- 
plicant. Make the most of them. Remember too that you 
not only should do this, but at the same time you should be 
going over in your mind the positions you have open. You 
are facing a problem as fascinating as that confronting 
bridge partners when they bid to fit their cards. You are 


trying to get the applicant and the job into harmonious re- 

Opening the Interview. — You need not necessarily greet 
your visitor with a .smile, b ut it is helpful for both of you if 
you do. This is a trying moment for the typical applicant. 
A smile of friendliness is the rope thrown to the struggling 
swimmer. If he has had previous hiring interviews and prof- 
ited by them, he will tell you his name and hand you the 
application sheet he has made out. Your smile gives him 
encouragement while you glance at the form he has given 
you. Never forget two things : have a comfortable chair for 
the applicant and let the interview seem private, even if 
your secretary is close at hand. 

Up to the time the questions and answers start you are a 
detective finding clues and verifying them if you can. The 
interview sheet offers the first verifying certainty. Looking 
at the man has been your appraisal, your hunch. Looking 
at his record now brings you to what he wants you to believe 
about him. Here is certainty — on trial. You train yourself 
to take in the page rapidly, almost at a glance. If you mull 
over the page, you disturb your visitor by the delay. 

At this point the expert interviewer seems to me to have 
the finesse of the skillful gentler of a young wild animal. 
No sudden word, no sudden movement. With the interview 
sheet scanned, you usually do either of two things: you seek 
elucidation of some point not made clear by a statement on 
the sheet, or you make some remark that eases the tension 
and brings an answer not too greatly concerned with the pur- 
pose of the interview. Of course you can plunge right into 
your question-and-answer routine if you see that the appli- 
cant can take it. Most of them require a little time. 

Recently I received a note from a young woman finishing 
a special six-month assignment. In asking for an appoint- 
ment to discuss the possibility of further work, she wrote, 
"Do you remember me? I am the girl you told to walk 
around the block because I was so nervous and then come 
back for my interview." 


I remembered the day she came to apply for her first job. 
She was nervous to the point of being in pain. So I sent her 
out for a walk to get the kinks out of her. When she came 
back, she got along famously. Her six-month apprentice- 
ship turned out so well that she is going to be with us for a 
long time, I believe. I am not sure that she would have got 
the job that first day if she had not been given the chance to 
pull herself together. 

I never cease being surprised that the young applicant, 
male or female, so often writes down on the line listed for 
education, "College" or "Two years college." I say to my- 
self, "Why does this tyro fail to say what college?" 

Frankly, I rate some colleges higher than others, so when 
I see such an indefinite statement, I often use it as an open- 
ing, asking a question to bring forth exact information. 

The same happens too often in answering, "What previous 
business experience?" I get the answer, "Clerical." The 
applicant does not appreciate that vagueness is not a recom- 
mendation for a position. 

When applicants are interested in clerical positions, I look 
at the handwriting on the interview sheet and spot mis- 
spelled words as well. What I have against schools — public 
and private — is that they turn out thousands of young peo- 
ple whose handwriting is atrocious and whose spelling is 
lamentable. The more mature person spells better and 
writes more legibly. I do not attribute this so much to their 
greater age as to their better juvenile training. 

One time I had a young man come to see me who had within 
the month received his B.A. degree from an institution of 
learning almost in the shadow of the sacred codfish which 
looks down on a bleak and benighted aristocracy, if we are to 
believe a successful novelist of the day. He made some ref- 
erence on his interview sheet to what he had done in his 
"sophmore" year. 

Without telling him why, I had him turn over the sheet 
and write the name of each class of his four years at college. 
"Sophmore" again. So it was no slip of the pen. Then I lit 


into him. Pleasantly enough, but he knew he was being 
told off. 

"For four years you were in high school and for four years 
you were in college," I reminded him. "And in each you 
were one whole year in the soph-o-more class. Xow you 
come here asking for a position that you know requires ob- 
servation and mental alertness. How can you expect me to 
hire you when you have been eight years foregathering with 
soph-o-mores and for two years were a member of the soph- 
o-more class, and still cannot spell the word properly?" 

He went away crestfallen because he had come with high 
hopes. The next day I received a letter from him saying 
that I had been perfectly right in bawling him out. And 
thanking me ! Well, because of that letter I felt more kindly 
toward his college than I had for years. College had taught 
him something, even if it had not corrected his high-school 
spelling. Perhaps it is better for colleges to turn out gen- 
tlemen than to turn out good spellers. 

The word most often' misspelled, I find, is "grammar." 
Thousands of children spend eight years within the walls of 
grammar schools and come out to write "grammer" on their 
interview sheets. Yes, and any number of them have been 
through college as well. One Chicago girl wrote "gramer." 
I called her on it. 

"Oh," said she, "I know I should have written g-r-a-m- 
m-e-r, but I come from Chicago and we go in for free spelling 
out there." 

"Free spelling?" 

"Yes. Free spelling is spelling a word like it sounds." 

I gently suggested that she go back to Chicago and get a 
job there. 

At this point I must make a few remarks about the prod- 
uct of some alleged progressive schools. Terrible. And 
totally unaware how terrible they are. There certainly are 
a great number of "free spellers" among them. What is 
more disheartening is the lack of mental discipline — or any 
other discipline. Students are taught to be so individual, 


to do what interests them at the moment, that they do not 
pull in the collar steadily. 

If any rabid admirer of the progressive school writes me a 
letter to take me to task for what I have said, I shall not 
deign to answer. I here boldly give my point of view and 
it is the result of experience. Maybe I have seen only the 
pupils from the wrong schools. 

While we are talking about youngsters, let me go on a lit- 
tle to say that you will be disheartened by the number who 
interlard their conversation with "Yeah" and "O.K." and 
such terms. It is disheartening when you are seeking an 
office boy or girl for an executive. Such slovenliness rules 
them out as likely candidates for jobs where they have to 
greet visitors or answer the telephone. 

When the interview begins, you can tell a great deal about 
the seriousness of the applicant's desire to work for your 
company by the preparation he has made for the interview. 
You will meet too many who say, "Oh, I don't care what 
kind of job you give me ; I just want a job." They comprise 
the type that sits back and lets you try to sell a job to them. 
You must figure out what they are good for, then explain the 
job and ask them to take it. They get short shrift from me 
when it is an. employer's market. 

Welcome with open arms the man who has studied enough 
about your company to make an intelligent approach to your 
problems in terms of how he can be valuable to you. He is 
at the other end of the scale from the man who merely says, 
"Any kind of job ; I just want a job." Like as not he puts it 
negatively. "You don't have any kind of job open today, 
have you?" The answer to that one is always emphatically 

With a few words at the beginning of the interview you 
have added to your knowledge of the applicant. His voice 
has told you something of his culture, often the part of the 
country he comes from. You now have to watch not only 
the man at the desk but yourself from a new angle. You 
yourself have predispositions, predilections, pet peeves, per- 


verse slants. Do not say you have none. We all have. Our 
only safety is in honestly recognizing them. All these are 
focusing on the applicant. You now watch yourself to make 
sure they will not warp your judgment. 

Your* Spectacles: Red and Rose. — Few of us see con- 
stantly through the plate-glass clear spectacles of intellect. 
Our emotions are always clapping on either red- or rose- 
colored glasses. It is against these that I now caution you. 
Let me explain with an example from my own betes noires. 

For one, I disdain the garterless youth who sits beside my 
desk with his socks sagging over his shoes. He just is not an 
aesthetic sight. I read into his slovenliness all the other 
faults a young worker can have. So he has one strike on 
him already when we begin to talk. If I let those drooping 
socks have weight in the scale, I may lose a darned good coil 
winder. So I watch myself to keep from seeing red. 

I loathe, abominate, and abhor the callow wight who sticks 
out a clammy paw and grabs my hand and pumps it up and 
down before I can seize a sheaf of papers to make handshak- 
ing impossible. If I ever have a little list, he never will be 
missed. Yet my distaste for these effusive nitwits must be 
curbed by the fact that I am just a hired hand and must live 
up to the amenities prescribed by good personnel practice. 
There are times when in the words of the Rudyard Kipling- 
limerick, I should like to break from my cell with a hell of a 
yell. This is one of them. In some instances shaking hands 
is a formal and not unpleasant approach. I really welcome 
it. But shaking the clammy hands of these youngsters! 

Watch to see that you do not drop into a "great god" 
attitude. You cannot pontificate and do a good job in a 
hiring interview. On the other hand, this meeting is not a 
social function. It is business. You cannot be an iceberg, 
but there is an iceberg simile that is helpful. The big chunk 
from a glacier is seven eighths under water. Well, about 
seven eighths of your work in an interview is concealed. It 
is what you do in trying to match the applicant with the job. 

You put on your rose-colored spectacles when you let your 

loo « 5 ~+ )/V\ P' 


heart get the better of your head. When you fall for the 
pathetic story, even when it is true. When you say, 'This 
fellow needs a job. I'll give him one. He may make good." 
Usually he does not. When you say, "This girl has to have 
a job. I don't think she will make a good file clerk, but 
maybe she will." Usually she does not. I cannot tell you 
not to put on your rose-colored spectacles sometimes, but 
don't say I didn't warn you. 

I have a little list of things I do not like. I do not like 
applicants who lean back and teeter on the two rear legs of 
the chair. I always think of my friend who was made a 
trustee of a small college because he had a great deal of 
money. He returned from his first trustees' meeting. "I am 
never going back," he told his wife. "The trustees I met do 
not know how to sit on chairs." He never attended another 

I do not like young ladies who chew gum. I do not like 
young men who remain seated when I come over to speak to 
them while they are waiting. I do not like applicants who 
give former employers violent tongue lashings. I do not like 
— but why go on? 

What I like or dislike personally has nothing to do with 
filling positions. A girl can pop her bubble-gum in my ear 
and still be a good operator on an NCR 2,000 machine. A 
youth can look up at me from his chair and still be a good 
photostat operator. I cannot afford to wear red glasses and 
throw these applicants out of my office because they do not 
meet my own standards of office etiquette. But I certainly 
would enjoy doing it. 

Types Who Come for Hiring Interviews. — There is no 
doubt about it, you have to be a protean artist. You must 
meet a variety of applicants. You must make each one un- 
derstand that you know all about the job you may offer 
him, and you must talk his lingo in order to put him at his 
ease and get him to tell you about himself. He talks better 
when he talks to someone he thinks understands him in rela- 
tion to the job. 


So no two interviews are alike. If they are, you are not in 
high gear or you are slipping. Of course interviews follow 
certain patterns. You will find that you develop one pat- 
tern for high-school age, another for college age; one for 
office workers and another for craftworkers ; one for guards 
and watchmen, another for minor executives and supervisors ; 
and so on. 

America is making such a fetish of college education and 
I meet so many people with college degrees who are not edu- 
cated that I shall stop the flow of my discourse right here to 
say a few words about my college-graduated applicants. 
Some are wonderful. Many of them are not. 

Inmy opinion the prime purpose of a college education is 
not to get a man a better job or even to get him a job at all. 
I think the prime purpose is to train him to get the most 
personal satisfaction out of his life and at the same time to 
give as much as possible to soriety. From that point of view 
it has to be deduced that the more the college student actu- 
ally learns, the greater the personal satisfaction his educa- 
tion will give him in later life, and the greater asset he will 
be in the social cosmos. 

When considering a young man just out of college. I give 
attention to extracurricular activities, but I do not do so 
until I have satisfied myself that the applicant has a satis- 
factory record in his studies. Where only extracurricular 
activities are offered to justify a four-year course in college, 
they usually include much too much sitting on the small of 
the back while engaged in serious discussions as to the 
chances of the football team next season and the merits of 
the latest motion picture. 

A personnel director gets so that he can tear down a mask 
of college pretensions with a few questions. The young man 
who says he has taken a course in nineteenth-century Eng- 
lish poetry but who cannot name two of the Lake poets is 
bidding his interviewer pause. And if he then says that he 
has had a course in the history of economics and in answer 
to a question cannot identify Adam Smith or John Stuart 


Mill or Quesnay, the interviewer should stop, look, and lis- 
ten with the politeness of an executive who is getting ready 
to ease a young man out of his office. 

Now a man can live a long and successful life without 
knowing a single Restoration dramatist or the doctrine of 
the physiocrats. But a young man fresh from academic halls 
who says that he has taken certain courses and then cannot 
discuss some of the outstanding persons or trends in them 
with a certain definiteness is also advertising the fact that 
he has been exposed to education but has not benefited by 
the exposure. 

Where there is no wartime shortage there are enough col- 
lege men available that a personnel director does not have 
to waste time on the floaters, drifters, and passengers on the 
sea of learning. It is not always the college man's fault. It 
may be the fault of his college. 

The type I dread to have come for an interview is the 
woman of middle age whose husband has recently died and 
left her almost penniless. She is desperately in need of a job, 
but she has had no training. She is bewildered in the busi- 
ness world. She cannot type. She seldom has any sense of 
business needs. Too often she is too frail for a heavy lifting 
job, a full basket of correspondence bound for the files. She 
is just a lady in very reduced circumstances who must have 
a job — now. 

There are positions in the world for some of them — but too 
few. Every company seems to attract some unfortunates 
who are sent in to it by a friendship tie which justifies the 
hope it can find a pay-roll place for the applicant. I do not 
think many companies outside the retail department store, 
dry-goods, or specialty-shop field can be helpful. 

Applicants Will Fool You— Sometimes. — In the business 
world no one wins every battle — not even a personnel direc- 
tor. You will be fooled, but only occasionally, I hope. Mis- 
representation is not often intentional. Some applicants 
are so eager that they give themselves a better build-up than 
their ability or capacity warrants. On the other hand, some 


applicants will make some statement and tear it down by 
adding, "But of course that doesn't mean anything to you." 

I always reply, "Well, it most certainly does." One reason 
for that answer is that I want to take away any feeling that 
such background experience is utterly useless. Often the 
statement does really give me a clue I have been watching 

Sometimes when I think I am being fooled. I drop a seem- 
ingly innocent question into the conversation which smokes 
out the truth. I ask, "What do you wish to be doing ten 
years from now?" I feel a little mean when I ask it, like 
shooting at a quail hopping in the brush along a rail fence. 
If the answer comes back, "I want to be in the jewelry busi- 
ness," that is enough for me if I am trying to fill a career job. 
One time I popped my question at a bright Irish lad. His 
face lit up as he answered, "I want to be on the cops." I 
hope he will be. 

When I ask that question of a young woman, I cut the 
time down to five years. The answer I always welcome and 
often hear is, "I want to be married." We have career jobs 
for women and there are more than enough splendid appli- 
cants to fill them, but personally I am always glad to hear, 
"I want to be married." 

The question is not always a fair one because the young 
men are entitled to cast about for a few years. I agree with 
the successful executive who was asked to make an Horatio 
Alger speech to a Sunday school class in Chicago. He gave 
one of those impersonal, stained-glass- window speeches, and 
then one little boy asked, "To what do you attribute your 
own success?" 

"Well, I'll tell you," answered the executive, becoming his 
normal self. "I spent ten years finding out what I wanted 
to do. And then I spent ten years learning how to do it. 
And after that all hell couldn't stop me." 

Things to Keep in Mind. — You have to budget your time. 
It is presumed that many who call are screened out by your 
assistants. You should not dawdle or let your applicant 


dawdle. Through the interview you must always keep your 
mind on the fact that you are a twenty-minute egg with the 
one question to be answered, "How is my company going to 
make profit on this man?" You must not lose that hard- 
boiled attitude inside. 

If you hire a man at thirty dollars a week and he does 
only twenty dollars' worth of work, how is the company go- 
ing to pay taxes and rent and bills for heat and light and raw 
materials and your salary? So keep your appraisal of the 
man in mind. 

If you keep the applicant on the beam there will be no 
question of speed because the dialogue will not need clock 
watching. Only the old, I find, are garrulous. In fact, more 
often than not you have to drag information from the young, 
especially when they have not had experience in being inter- 

It is good to ask why the applicant wishes to work for your 
company. You thus get a statement that measures the 
applicant in terms of his interest. At the same time give 
the impression that your interest in the candidate is as keen 
(even if you do not hire him) as his interest in your com- 
pany. Even if you get a good answer, you have to test to 
see if the interest is not simulated. The question that may 
bring that out is, "Where did you look for a job yesterday?'' 
Or "last week." If the search was in other fields, then all the 
protestation that your company is first in the applicant's re- 
gard is not too- well-staged eyewash. 

Despite my own adequate interview form, I still think the 
candidate is smart who brings his own typed resume of his 
background. It is businesslike. Even if your field is not 
his first choice, you know that he has given thought to his 
selling points. He may have some that your form will not 
develop. In effect he says, "Here is a prospectus of the prod- 
uct I am selling." I wish I had strength of character to re- 
fuse to see anyone above the grade of messenger boy who 
does not have a resume of his education and career. After 
that, I want a good selling talk that backs it up. 


Try not to be interrupted. Nothing is so deflating to an 
interview as interruptions. Even one interruption will throw 
things off balance. It upsets your attitude of a this interview 
is important." Employees who break in to ask questions 
should be broken in not to break in. Telephone calls should 
be held off unless they are very important. 

You may see sense in the rule that makes your secretary 
a fixture in your private office when you are interviewing a 
good-looking (or even not so good-looking) young woman 
there. Safety first. Some people say you never can tell 
about a woman. You can't get me to take one side or the 
other here. I am just an attention-caller. 

Never talk about yourself during an interview unless some 
experience aptly illustrates a point bearing on the job or the 
applicant's attitude toward it. He should not have to listen 
to your prognosis of your asthma or your opinion of your 
wife's relatives. 

Incidentally, I hope heaven will call down a plague on all 
those companies that hire callow youths and fatuous young 
women to conduct interviews. I hear so much about them 
from applicants who open up and tell about their receptions 
elsewhere. By management's thoughtful design interview- 
ers for positions should be of a higher caliber than any of 
the company's applicants. They should have poise, intelli- 
gence, and kindliness. Unless you go out looking for a job 
yourself, you have no idea how often one faces interviewers 
who have no one of these characteristics. Not all of this 
book is for fledgling personnel directors. Some of it is di- 
rectly aimed at some Big Bosses and this paragraph is part 
of that some. 

In an interview you must constantly keep in mind the de- 
mands of the job in relation to the capacity or skill of the 
applicant. Remember that the creative person wilts when 
given a repetitive job. And by the same token the person 
who can sit happily all day at a machine filling tubes with 
tooth paste is ready to jump off the dock after a day spent 
floundering on a job that calls for imagination and initiative. 


Do not harness a race horse to a dray and do not enter a 
draught horse in a steeplechase race for thoroughbreds. 
You, of course, know this ; but I am writing a book for every- 
body and this exhortation is put in for the other fellow. 

If an applicant presents references, look at them. Usu- 
ally you do this for the sake of politeness or to verify length 
of employment or something else as factual. You do not 
have to read references given to the applicant himself to 
get information about character or loyalty or cooperation 
because employers give only good boosts. I have never yet 
read a to-whom-it-may-concern letter that says, "John Doe 
was in my employ six years. He was a malingerer and a 
troublemaker, and I only put up with him that long because 
he was so slick I could not catch him in anything that would 
stick against a grievance committee's protest." 

You Decide the Applicant Is Worth Hiring. — After the 
interview has given you the facts you need, you decide to 
accept or not to accept or to hold in abeyance. If your de- 
cision is favorable, what happens next? You recapitulate 
definitely. You repeat the salary figure. You may not have 
made it plain that employment hinges on passing the com- 
pany's medical examination. Be sure to do so now. In re- 
capitulating make sure that you are not promising more than 
you should about advancement or pay increases. Tell the 
applicant what company policy is as it relates to his hiring 
and continued employment. References may be required as 
a prerequisite to employment. That must now be empha- 
sized. Where a skill is being bought, wages may depend on 
length of service elsewhere in the same line. That must be 
thoroughly understood. And ask if the applicant has any 
further questions to ask. 

Before you come this far in your hiring, you will have had 
the necessary tests made. Tests will be discussed in another 

If you have a large enough staff, someone should be sent 
with the new employee to introduce him properly to the head 
of the department where he has final decision. (Although I 


have said that you hire the applicant, I still have in mind 
that the department head has the power of veto.) If the ap- 
plicant must go alone, he should carry the proper personnel 
form to serve as an introduction and to certify that he has 
met the department's conditions of employment. Of course 
he takes his application sheet with him. 

You Turn the Applicant Away — Pleasantly. — Casuists 
may find several places during the personnel director's day 
when a lie is justifiable. One of them is not the moment 
when an applicant is turned down. He deserves enough of 
the truth to know that the decision is final in respect to the 
present application, especially where a specific position has 
been in prospect. He does not have to be told exactly why 
you came to the conclusion you did; that might be need- 
lessly cruel. 

Yet it is so easy to tell a lie. This is one place where weak- 
ness sometimes develops. It is so easy to send the applicant 
away hoping. This evasion is so common a fault that one 
can almost think it a trait of our human nature, attributing 
it to a kindly desire not to hurt the rejected applicant by 
closing the door to hope. Well, if that is your feeling, you 
are just rationalizing. The real reason is that you are 
cowardly. You do not wish to "get into an argument." You 
do not wish the disappointed applicant to "create a scene." 
For your own comfort you wish to get him away from your 
desk. And quickly. 

If you are definite in your turndown, the applicant can 
leave with the feeling that at least you and your company 
have been honest in your attitude. And the atmosphere can 
be a pleasant one. It may be a little more trouble, require a 
minute more of your time, but it is worth it. It is really 
less trouble than having the man pester you with # later visits 
and sometimes with telephone calls. 

Deferment — Others to Be Interviewed. — The_ onjy tim e 
you can tell an applicant honestly that you still will keep 
him in mind for a definite position is when there are others 
coming to be interviewed for it. You are obligated to see 


them. They have the skill, in some degree, which you are 
after. Out of the number you will pick the one you and the 
department head consider best suited. 

In all fairness to the applicant you should set a time limit 
which should not be long. In filling most positions it is not 
right to keep a man hoping and waiting for more than a day 
or two. He should not be kept too long from searching for 
another position. If he does not hear by a certain time, he 
is to know that the place has gone to another. There are 
times when you should write or telephone that the place has 
been filled. 

In cases where an agency sends a man, it usually keeps 
telephoning to ask if your requirements have been met or if 
more applicants should be sent. You can notify the waiting 
man through the agency. Speaking of agencies, once you 
have made your choice be sure to telephone all agencies 
where you have registered the job. It is a courtesy you owe 
them. It saves time and trouble to applicants, agencies, and 
your own department. 

"Have You Any Suggestions?" — Often after you have 
told an applicant that you have nothing for him, he will ask, 
"Have you any suggestions where I may get a job?" This 
question puts me on my mettle as a good Samaritan, ^al- 
ways try to have at least one suggestion. Knowledge of the 
field and the personnel work grapevine may make it possible 
for you to send a skilled worker to a plant where there may 
be an opening. If the applicant has impressed me and I feel 
this is my Boy Scout good deed for the day, I will telephone 
somebody about him. I do not have to. I just do it. 

Usually when a young person asks me this question, it is 
after we have canvassed his seeming capacities in relation 
to our work and agreed that he would be a misfit with us. So 
the question turns me to vocational guidance, and I give a 
rough and ready opinion, warning him that it is not scientific. 
Young people are so helpless and so hopeful. Do what you 
can for them. 

Sending for References. — Whether or not you send for 


references before or after hiring the applicant depends on 
several things. Of course, in all logic, you should have them 
in hand before putting the man on, but pressure may be such 
that you have to put him to work at once. If he comes from 
a plant in the same town, you can telephone at once and 
get an immediate rating, especially if it is a good one. A 
telephone reference should be followed by a written one, to 
be filed in the new employee's folder. 

If the record is not good, you will not get a telephone rat- 
ing unless you are known to the former employer. In turn, 
you must be chary about giving such information to anyone 
making a telephone inquiry. More than once I have had a 
recently discharged employee call up and represent himself 
to be the manager of the Red Dust Automotive Company 
and ask for the employment record of Bill Squeegee. In- 
stead of saying, "You big bum, you know why you were fired 
as well as I do," I say, "Please write us this request as we 
are not allowed to give such information over the telephone." 
He always says he will, but no letter ever comes. 

Hiring Former Employees. — Some companies never rehire 
anyone who has formerly worked for them. Any such hard 
and fast rule I think is nonsense. Why not — if the worker 
has a good record? When companies act as if they are miffed 
that an employee had the audacity to withdraw for any rea- 
son, I think they are childish. 

Admittedly, companies with such rules save themselves 
some headaches. It is true that some former employees 
who return to seek employment have gone to seed during 
the years they have been away. A rule against rehiring saves 
the trouble of a turndown. It also saves debate where the 
worker was good at his desk or lathe but had personal char- 
acteristics that made him objectionable from management's 
point of view. 

I like to welcome the return of a former employee, pro- 
vided there is a proper place for him. He has been out and 
seen the world and now he is back, contented. Well, that's 
the theory anyway. But he must understand that he is 


being hired absolutely anew. No benefits or seniority he 
possessed when he left are to accrue to him now or be accu- 
mulated later. 

A Rating Scale for Hiring Interviews. — There are em- 
ployee rating scales for a number of purposes, but here we 
are concerned only with a scale to be helpful in appraising 
an applicant. The trouble with some of them is that they 
are too intricate and too searching for small-fry jobs. It's 
like using an elephant gun to shoot a rabbit. Until you are 
well established, the simpler the scale you use (if you use 
any), the better for you. Unless one has had training in 
industrial psychology, the use of an elaborate scale is a waste 
of time, and the interpretation may be exceedingly unfair to 
the applicant being used as a guinea pig. 

When the interviewer puts down answers to printed ques- 
tions on a sheet before him, he slows down the interview and 
disturbs the applicant. A mature person is apt to be im- 
patient, regarding the whole interview as juvenile. To ask 
a man, "Do you have imagination?" get an answer and sol- 
emnly write it down; to ask, "Do you have the ability to 
forgive people who wrong you?" get an answer and solemnly 
write it down is to be pretty silly, I think. 

Do not think I have set up a man of straw as a rating-scale 
interviewer. There have been such. Don't you be one. 

Better to save your rating till after the interview. In this 
case you work two sheets: one for the applicant to fill out 
in all innocence and the other — short, with only five or six 
boxes to be checked — which you fill out immediately after 
the interview. The latter gives your interpretation of the 
applicant's sheet plus your own impressions, all in your most 
objective manner. These two sheets help the interviewer 
remember and roughly appraise the applicant in a later 
search for candidates for some particular position. 

For applicants who are to be given positions of impor- 
tance, it may be necessary to get the assistance of some out- 
side rating agency. This is a different type of rating. You 
have not the time (nor I hope the inclination) to go around 


town or out of town interviewing the man's acquaintances 
and business associates. It is much better to get a report 
from one of the established companies that makes a business 
of such research. 

In Conclusion. — In a hiring interview do I do everything 
that I have set down in this chapter? No, not everything, I 
am afraid. Here I am like the father who says to his son, 
"Don't you do as I do; you do as I say." 



We have discussed the hiring interview. Now we come to 
accompanying tests which often may be necessary. I recom- 
mend them. They will confirm or refute the impression you 
have obtained from the interview and from any supporting 
references or specimens of previous work submitted. 

When you take over as personnel director and your depart- 
ment is making no tests, except those rudimentary ones such 
as you give a stenographer, introduce them as soon as you 
can practically. A personnel test can be a razor-sharp in- 
strument. You can not only do yourself serious injury if 
you are not qualified to use it, but do others serious injury 
too. If you are organizing the department, put advanced 
tests on the agenda at a later date. Do not put them on im- 

When the time comes for you to impress your company 
with the value of tests, first make so thorough a study that 
you know what you are talking about. Be all eyes and ears 
before you open your mouth. See particularly what com- 
panies in your own line are doing. Listen to the stories of 
their successes and failures. Be warned that a successful 
test with one company may not yield the same results with 
another one even in the same field, drawing from the same 
labor pool. You must be keen to discriminate as you try 
out your tests. 

Unless you have three or four years' time and twenty or 
thirty thousand dollars to spend, do not get caught in the 
toils of a complicated battery of tests which you must vali- 
date. Extensive, expensive psychological tests that require 
pioneering are not for you. They are for a company with 



twenty-five or thirty thousand employees and a forward- 
looking management. 

On the other hand, you cannot adopt a cavalier attitude 
toward employee tests. They are not coming. They are 
here. They are not so good as they will be nor so scientific, 
but they are here to stay, and rightly so. Their goals include 
absolutely objective methods of selection of employees, 
their placement and advancement, and the increase of pro- 
duction — goals never to be quite attained because of human 
elements involved, despite the improvement of scientific 

At present the personnel field has briars in it. These are 
the charlatans who run riot whenever some new industrial 
change permits brass to masquerade as gold. Until recently 
few in management have known what an industrial psychol- 
ogist can do, few have known how to find him. Conse- 
quently, in these early years of testing management has 
frequently been gulled by smooth-talking pseudo psycholo- 
gists, brazen traffickers in "abacadabra." As the science of 
testing emerges from its infancy, the fakers will be driven 
from the field. 

Speaking of tests as a whole, management will be quicker 
to recognize their true worth than many unions. Some of 
the latter suspect them to be, more or less concealed, allies 
of the stretch-out. In time forward-looking unions will 
come to appreciate tests as strengthening their position in 
the management-labor relationship. 

Authentic tests based on truly scientific principles will 
provide a higher quality union membership. Tests should 
result in better output at lower unit cost, providing a greater 
margin of profit in which, with right, labor can demand its 
share in higher wages and better working conditions. I be- 
lieve only a unioneer battening on an ignorant following 
can object to tests properly evaluated and properly super- 
vised and interpreted. 

This will surprise you. Already there are applicants for 
positions who look with suspicion on companies that do not 


have tests at the threshold. To them, tests prove an interest 
in placement. They look forward to tests later to govern 
advancement. Tests bespeak fairness, an endeavor to per- 
mit employees to reveal their capacities and be placed where 
they can use their abilities to the best purpose. These appli- 
cants are the intelligent and resourceful ones, looking for the 
best openings and confident of their ability to advance under 
competition. They see tests as a powerful counteractive to 
prejudice and favoritism. 

Many Tests Are Available. — You can get tests that have 
worked elsewhere, sometimes perfectly, sometimes less than 
perfectly. They have been developed by qualified faculty 
members of universities, industrial psychologists, and the 
staffs of accredited psychological organizations. You will 
have to satisfy yourself that any such standardized test has 
been prepared upon a base of experience of individuals meas- 
ured that fairly represents the experience of your own appli- 
cants and your own employees being tested. A job that can 
be done by a youth with a grammar-school education should 
not have as a specific test any examination that has been 
predicated upon a college or even a high-school background. 

When you obtain validated tests, remember that whoever 
does your testing has to know how to make the test work 
and then read the answer correctly. If you go out and hire 
such a man, investigate him thoroughly, with even greater 
care than you would investigate a prospective son-in-law. 
Anybody can set himself up as an industrial psychologist, 
and sometimes I think almost everybody has set himself up. 

One definition of an efficiency man is "a mechanic away 
from home." By the same token one can define a psycholo- 
gist as "a man who knows more big words than you do." The 
pseudo psychologists are those who know more big words 
which do not mean anything. Some of these self-styled 
authorities on personnel practice know nothing more about 
testing than I know about the intricate workings of the dials 
on an instrument board of a Flying Fortress. Well, maybe 
that's a little hard. 


Do Not Test Just to Be Testing. — One way to waste time 
for the Big Boss, for the applicant, and for yourself is to put 
the applicant through a testing hopper where he does not 
belong. In other words, do not test just to be testing. The 
only reason for a test is to show ability or capacity in rela- 
tion to a specific job for which the applicant is being con- 
sidered or by the percentile method to size him up for one 
of several jobs. 

There must not be an expensive test for a job you are 
called upon to fill only two or three times a year. You have 
two courses open to you. The applicant can be put on the 
job if it is a work test which is needed. If the test must be 
for the most part psychological, the applicant should be 
turned over to a qualified industrial psychologist. He is 
worth the fee you will pay. 

You should not keep business machines in your depart- 
ment for work tests unless such tests are of almost daily 
occurrence. For example, I hire only two or three comp- 
tometer operators a year. For some reason or other these 
women seem to like us and stay with us. Well, when we 
have such a position to fill and an applicant appears, her 
interview sheet shows that she is experienced. It would be 
a useless expense to have a machine waiting for her. So 
down she goes to the department where she will work, to be 
tested there. 

Make Sure Your Test Has Validity. — All that has been 
said in this chapter has stressed the fact that you must make 
sure the test fits the situation. In other words, you must 
make sure that the test has validity. The pragmatic way to 
do this is to try it on the workers already on the pay roll. 
We presuppose the test has to do with the work in hand. 
Then, roughly speaking, if your known good employees make 
a good score and your known poor employees make a poor 
score, it is a valid test. In a work test scaled on employee 
experience you must set an arbitrary weight for practice on 
the job which the applicant does not have. 

At this point a warning. Unless you have been testing the 


workers on the job already, you may be surprised to find that 
a man or woman you have considered "a good worker" just 
does not live up to the reputation when put to the scientific 

If you are examining a test for validity in your own shop 
or plant or office, one of the things you have to do is to es- 
tablish a passing mark. At what point below which an ap- 
plicant falls are you to say, "Sorry, but this job is not for 
one with no more training than your test shows you have 
had." If it is a sudden-death test — fail and you are out — 
then you have only to figure out a production figure on the 
basis of the test and decide where the applicant can make a 
profit for your company at his indicated speed or intelligence 
or what have you. Again, the test may be complicated by 
the other tests you are using. Then, you must answer this 
question : Does a high mark in other tests carry the low mark 
in this test? 

When you have obtained the test results, you do not yet 
have the answer whether or not to hire where there are other 
factors. Among the factors that may also have weight are 
known reliability, acquaintance in the trade, all the unsci- 
entific and somewhat intangible considerations which you 
can carelessly call a "justified hunch." Testing can point to 
personality traits, but I say that there still is a personality 

No, I am not being contradictory in linking scientific and 
unscientific elements. Each has a part in helping you make 
your decision. You are responsible, and anything that helps 
you make a decision is pertinent. But remember that when 
your hunch swings too far toward the subjective and far away 
from the objective, the closer it comes to a mere guess. The 
bridge player has thirteen cards in his hand when he makes a 
psychic bid. You have not that many. 

Personality Rating Scale a Hiring Refinement. — Using a 
rating scale made by others on any subjective personality 
basis seems to me at times a useless aid in hiring. The gen- 
eral run of office jobs are not always worth such refinement. 


Rating after six months on the job — yes. Then you have 
your own foreman, your own work records, your own inside 
sources of information. 

You can have help from a rating scale when the applicant 
has recently come from some school or college that has scaled 
him in numerical relation to his fellows. Yet do not read 
too much into it. You do not know the other members of 
the class or the group. The standing you get is only relative. 
In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king. 

There are standard ratings that give an intelligence quo- 
tient. Vocational aptitudes are less definite. They give you 
a clue at best. Perhaps they should not come under the head 
of rating at all. The papers the youngsters bring me as cer- 
tificates of vocational aptitudes are pretty much catchalls. 
The bearer of such a document is set forth to be something 
like a patent medicine nostrum, good for almost anything 
that ails me in the hiring line. 

The Two Kinds of Placement Test. — When you test an 
applicant, you have in mind ( 1 ) to put him through a screen 
for a certain job or (2) to ascertain into which of several 
jobs he will best fit. The latter happens, of course, when 
you have several kinds of openings which must be filled. 
Your temptation will be to send the man to the department 
that is clamoring the loudest for help. If you are going to 
do that, why test at all? It is better to let the clamoring de- 
partment clamor than to send a misfit, however slight, if 
you can do better by waiting for a suitable applicant. If the 
plant will shut down unless you send the misfit, which is 
most improbable, then all bets are off. You send him. But 
even then I would think twice if the tests indicate that he is 

Random Observations on Hiring Tests. — Since entire 
books can be written on tests for employment and advance- 
ment, it is obvious that in this galloping survey of personnel 
work there-' can be no great emphasis put on the subject. 
Moreover, no specific test is mentioned. You can find them 
for yourself. If I were to mention some, by this time next 


year several of them probably would be dated. If they are 
dated, this book will be dated, and I have no wish for that 
to happen. 

After intelligence and personality tests, then other tests 
for most positions should give a "Yes" or "No" answer the 
same day. As has been said, this answer may be only one 
of several answers sought. Take a young woman applying 
for a stenographic position: she will be tested for typing, 
shorthand, perhaps spelling, and certain routine office prac- 
tices. She will also have to pass the personnel director's 
scrutiny for neatness, dress, speech, and so on. Any one of 
these tests or observations may give a decisive "No" and 
she is out. Each of them may give only a grudging "Yes" 
and she slides in on probation. Be hard-boiled. If your 
judgment is less than a grudging "Yes," say "No." "Per- 
haps" is out. As you recall, when a young woman says 
"Perhaps" she means "Yes." If she says "Perhaps," that is 
her business ; but your business is to have tests that say only 
"Yes" and "No" to help you make your decision. 

When hiring a skilled worker, you first learn his industrial 
history. Then you test him to see if he has the professed 
skill. Personnel directors have found that the applicant is 
so optimistic in his appraisal of his own good qualities that 
almost invariably he gives himself a better recommendation 
than is verified by his tests. This holds true also, but proba- 
bly not quite to the same extent, among white-collar workers. 
The only time you will find the applicant depreciating his 
good qualities or underestimating his ability is in the case 
of highly intelligent persons who you may say are of the 
executive type or who indicate that they are executive ma- 

Tests are oral or written or work in job miniatures. The 
oral test, here taken to be word-of -mouth interrogation of 
one applicant, takes more personnel department time be- 
cause it is an individual operation requiring the tester, usu- 
ally the second-line interviewer, to be face to face with the 
applicant. Its advantage is that it continues the inter- 


viewer's opportunity for further observation of the appli- 
cant. Of course when one gives a spelling test orally to 
more than one person, it cuts time per applicant, but that 
is not what I have in mind. It is not often, I believe, that 
enough applicants are assembled at one time for this type 
of spelling test or for dictation. For another thing, I do 
not believe a stenographer should be chosen from any such 
mass operation. 

The written test is a timesaver because a dozen may be set 
down at tables and given the test simultaneously. I should 
hold the pen-and-pencil tests to spelling, simplified clerical 
operations, intelligence, personality, and knowledge of skills 
that can be handled on prepared sheets of paper. On these 
sheets the applicant has to check "true" or "false," complete 
a statement with one word, or choose one statement among 

Be sure that any question-and-answer test, whether oral 
or written, has enough questions. The more questions. 
within reason and a fair time limit, the better the evaluation 
of the applicant along the line of a test. The fewer the ques- 
tions, the greater part chance plays. 

If you have ever gone to a' well-conducted radio quiz pro- 
gram, you have found that there was a preliminary warming- 
up period before the program went on the air. Just so it is 
a good idea to give the applicant a few questions or a few 
practice runs over the target before the real test begins. In 
a harness race the horses score a few times before the judge 
sends them away. The preliminary work with an applicant 
takes away nervousness and gives him confidence. Of course 
the preliminary questions are not too hard for him. He is 
to be put in such a frame of mind that he says to himself 
confidently, "I'm good." That is a fair way to have him feel 
when the test starts. 

When you test for shop or plant, project yourself into the 
mentality of the applicant. Doing this means that you can 
develop and put into operation tests that are fair to him and 
the company. In the first place, such a worker is apt to be 


somewhat inarticulate. You cannot expect him to set down 
in words a job description as a time-study expert would 
phrase it. Free-answer questions get him down. Therefore, 
it is best to limit any pencil-and-paper tests to the simplest 
manner of answering. This is why your true-false, yes-no 
answers are best. 

The science of testing for jobs in the shop comes with the 
time tests and work tests. These can be accurately timed 
and, as job miniatures, scientifically determined, quantita- 
tively and qualitatively. 

Certain positions in the office or store should have job- 
miniature machinery set up for them in the personnel de- 
partment whenever the turnover is so great that there is a 
frequent call for testing. It can be placed in a training room 
where not only the applicant can be tested but employees 
can be trained for advancement. Pneumatic tubes are 
needed where salespersons and cashier assistants are tested 
for speed in handling sales slips and money and in perform- 
ing any other dealings required between the cashier's de- 
partment and the counter. Also to be found here should be 
those various apparatuses for testing manual dexterity, such 
as the good old stand-by for putting three metal pins into 
each of a series of holes, using only one hand and working 
for speed. 

When you use a stop watch, be unobtrusive about it. Usu- 
ally an applicant knows he is being clocked, but there is 
something about the click of a stop watch at the beginning 
of a test that gives some applicants the jitters. Except where 
split-second timing is required, on short tests — less than a 
minute — I prefer to glance at the secondhand of a large elec- 
tric clock on the wall. If the test is to run well over a min- 
ute, do not use this method. You forget too often just when 
you looked at the clock because you are doing something 
else if the test permits you to look away. It is like trying to 
do something else in the kitchen in the morning while the 
bread is toasting. The invariable result is burnt toast. 

When it comes to a spelling test, to save time I prefer a list 


of words on a prepared sheet with certain words misspelled. 
The applicant is to check those that are wrong. You need 
not keep an interviewer tied to the test. All that he does is 
to see that there is no opportunity for the applicant to get 
help. We always supply a blank sheet of paper with the 
spelling sheet. Some applicants like to write out words 
about which they are doubtful. There is no reason why they 
should not. What you have to watch is the time limit on 
the test. 

On our spelling sheet we have thirty-three words. Thir- 
teen or fourteen are misspelled. If five of them are missed 
by candidates for jobs in a department where spelling is im- 
portant, there is no appeal. Spelling for that department is 
a sudden-death test, and we give it even before we let the 
applicant fill out an interview sheet. 

One day when we had a great many applicants and gave 
the spelling test, as you might say. en masse, a young woman 
who had flunked stood on the sidewalk, spotted others com- 
ing to apply for the job, and told them the words on the list- 
that were wrong. There was one thing the foxy girl did not 
know — there were two sheets. Just at the time she began 
to tell the state secrets of Test Number One, my office shifted 
the sheet to Test Xumber Two. We heard the story later 
from a surprised girl who sat down thinking she knew the 
answers and found she was not playing on familiar ground. 
At that, she passed Test Xumber Two. 

When a typist tells you she can type so many words a min- 
ute, remember that there are two usual methods of counting. 
Business schools where the young women are trained count 
five letters and spaces arbitrarily as one word. This makes 
for uniformity of scoring. The other way of course is count- 
ing the actual words. When you are told that the applicant 
can type fifty-five words a minute, find out how the words 
are scored. A third method is counting by the square inch, 
which is a two-dimension version of the first method. 

Statistical typing speed is slower because of the column 
work, but it is amazing how expert a statistical typist be- 


comes. When you get accustomed to testing, you can tell 
with your back turned just by the sound of the machine 
about how many words a minute are being typed or how fast 
a column of figures is going. 

A typist should give you a good setup no matter what 
she is asked to do, but she should not be expected to work 
at top speed according to your office standard on unfamiliar 
wordage or using an unfamiliar machine. 

The same can be said for a stenographic test. You should 
not expect a young woman who has been taking testimony 
in the oil fields to put on the same burst of speed if you read 
from an art journal or a medical treatise. I have found that 
few executives need a stenographer with speed greater than 
110- to 120-count words. 

Do not care what system of stenography the applicant of- 
fers if she can take the required number of words per minute 
and then transcribe them accurately. One school teaching a 
system not in general use is trying to trap me into an admis- 
sion that I am opposed to it. At least I think so from the 
frequency someone telephones me to ask what I think of it. 
The conversation sometimes runs like this : 

Q. I am thinking of sending my niece to the So-and-so 
Business College, but they teach the Thus-and-so system of 
taking dictation. I don't know anything about it. What do 
you know about it? 

A. The graduates of the school get jobs. 

Q. But would you employ one? 

A. Why not? If a girl takes 110 words a minute, that's all 
I ask most of the time. 

Q. And you have no objection to the Thus-and-so system? 

A. Heavens, no. When your niece gets good, send her 
over to see me. 

The next month someone telephones to ask whether he 
should send his son or nephew to study the Thus-and-so 
course. They have not caught me yet. It happens I have 
never hired a graduate of the school, but it is not my fault. 

When it comes to testing file clerks, weeks and months seem 


to go when I think that only progressive-school pupils are 
applying because the applicants do not know the alphabet. 
I pledge you my word they do not know what letters are 
between Q and T. 

Schools should teach spelling so intensively that their 
graduates also know the sequence of letters without having 
to start with A and do a mental parade down the alphabet. 
Then they should have dictionary tests — finding words in 
record time. 

While I am viewing with alarm, not finding anything to 
which I can point with pride at the moment, let me add 
that I am also horrified by the inability of so many of the 
human race here in America to read a timetable or a map. 
Toss a railway guide at the first ten employment seekers 
who come to your office. Ask them how to get from Rich- 
mond, Indiana, to Richmond, Missouri, in the least possible 
time, starting on Sunday. Watch 'em squirm and dog-ear 
the pages of the guide. On most of them, if you time them, 
your stop watch will run out of minutes. 

As for young American map readers, I still laugh when I 
think of the clumsy efforts of young men put to map read- 
ing in my outfit at Plattsburg. I was astonished then. I am 
astonished now. 




Without knowing what your department is required to do, 
there is no telling how large your personnel staff should be. 
Where you are responsible for a training program as well as 
for employment and the various employee services, I think 
that your department should have on its pay roll about 1 per- 
cent of the total number of employees. At that, you will 
have to make some in your department double in brass, 
that is, be expert in more than one branch of personnel work. 
Twenty personnel workers will have a hard time covering 
the activities of two thousand employees where there is con- 
stant turnover, a continuous training program, and compre- 
hensive record keeping. Probably you cannot do it with 

Up to now we have not discussed the personnel director as 
a staff executive or a line executive. The time has come to 
do it. Which you are should be definitely established when 
you take up your work. As a staff officer of an organization, 
a personnel director is among the top-ranking officials with 
the authority such position gives him. He is intimately con- 
cerned with policy-making and policy-control. 

Where the personnel director is a line executive, and down 
the line at that — which kind I shall speak of first — he is just 
a hired hand, albeit one with a great deal of responsibility. 
Thus I make it quite plain to you that your standing is bet- 
ter as a staff officer. If you are down the line, you will prob- 
ably report to the general manager or store manager. If 
you are on the staff, you will have no one between you and 
the highest administrative officer, and you will also have the 
authority to dip in anywhere. Diplomatically, of course. 



The weakness for the business and for you in being only 
a lower line executive is that you are usually removed from 
the inner circle and are regarded by too many executives and 
their henchmen as exercising your maximum authority only 
in the departments your superior directs. This makes it a 
lopsided business. If he is the business manager, this makes 
your functions vague in relation to those divisions concerned 
with such activities as control, production, maintenance, 
and so on. You will have to fight for any recognition you 

You can have a still better line standing than one as a 
division head under the business manager or another top 
executive. Your department can be recognized as being as 
functional as the other branches of the business. This gives 
it an independent status, but still it does not quite jibe with 
the philosophy of personnel work. You should be a staff of- 
ficer because your work is interdependent rather than inde- 
pendent. In some active or, more often, in some advisory 
capacity, you go or should go into every part of the business 
covered by the blueprint of organization. 

This concern with some one or another phase of all other 
executives' managerial problems relating to human relation- 
ships naturally rates the personnel director as a staff officer 
in an organization recognizing the potentialities of a per- 
sonnel department. Such a personnel head will himself 
direct or delegate to assistants: employment, training, em- 
ployee service, and sometimes, labor relations. If you get all 
these activities under your control, by all means handle 
labor relations yourself. You cannot ever afford to let an 
assistant take over. If you do, you may wake up some morn- 
ing to find that he has become vice-president in charge of 
labor relations and you will be working for him. 

The Pearl beyond Price — Your Secretary. — If you start 
the department, get a good secretary even before you think 
of getting division heads. Preferably get one transferred to 
you who has been with the business a long time. Her knowl- 
edge is what you are buying. A sensible young woman can 


be invaluable. If you do not appreciate the kind of secre- 
tary I am talking about, the kind you need, go out and get 
yourself a position as purchasing agent or assistant treasurer 
somewhere, because you have no business trying to be a per- 
sonnel director. 

Your secretary should be a pearl beyond price. She should 
have the same superlative qualities your Big Boss hopes you 
have when he hires you, plus a passion for detail which you 
can never hope to attain yourself. A nice, pleasant, popular 
extrovert not hard to look at. A tight-lipped young woman, 
because the one unpardonable sin a member of a personnel 
department staff can commit is to allow some information 
that is confidential to slip out. Your secretary knows more 
than anyone else after yourself. 

Your Personnel Assistant. — All right, I'll stick my neck 
out. In a department for an organization of the size we are 
discussing, I think you should have a woman for your assist- 
ant, especially if you are handling store employees. And 
now come back and tell me I am wrong, if you wish. A great 
deal of the training of your personnel can be left to your 
personnel assistant, together with supervision of your train- 
ing staff. Reserve for yourself executive-training courses 
and supervisor-training courses. You can also make her re- 
sponsible for the library and the rest rooms. If the cafeteria 
is under the personnel department, she can be valuable in 
watching for employee reaction to service, but you yourself 
should deal with the cafeteria manager. Where you are go- 
ing to get such an assistant I do not know. Probably you 
will have to hire her away from someone else. 

The Employment Manager. — In assembling a staff we 
come now to the employment manager. Your secretary and 
your assistant are important, but he is Number One. He is 
the logical person to succeed you as personnel director. He 
should be so good that he is stepping on your heels. If there 
is a large turnover, he will have to have assistants. There 
certainly must be assistants if you have more than one plant 
where employment is authorized without reference to the 


central office. The type of hiring here is on work history and 
interview with references to follow. 

The duties of the employment manager vary with the or- 
ganization and with the judgment of the department's chief. 
Among those which might logically fall to him, after selec- 
tion and placement, are transfers and layoffs, the safety pro- 
gram, time keeping with latenesses and absences, and all 
routine liaison with the plant's maintenance and customer- 
service departments. A personnel department stenographer 
should be assigned to him for necessary assistance if he does 
not need a full-time secretary. One duty is to write letters 
on behalf of any successful applicant to withdraw applica- 
tions made to other firms. This helps to keep the new em- 
ployee from getting offers in the immediate future that would 
make him jump ship. 

For the Obvious Morale Projects. — A young man who 
has chosen personnel work as a career is invaluable to you. 
Turn over to him direction of recreational activities, the 
house organ for employees, preparation under supervision 
of necessary store, office, or plant manuals, and visits to the 
homes of employees that are outside the province of your 
visiting nurse. If that is not enough to keep him busy, there 
are always interviewing and paper-work chores. But don't 
you let him do any of these things without keeping close 
watch on him. 

I have spoken of a staff of twenty. Yet I have only ac- 
counted so far for five of them, adverting as well to possible 
assistants to the employment manager. Who are the others? 
What do they do? They are the interviewers, the testers, 
the trainers for new employees and for those seeking ad- 
vancement, perhaps a correspondent with a stenographer, 
the typists, and the clerical staff required for the records 
kept for each employee, for statistical compilations, and for 
any department bookkeeping. 

The Workers and Their Work. — Do not be one of those 
foolish executives who give their workers too much to do. 
Even in an office busy with accounting detail it is not safe to 


allot work that, by stop-watch accuracy, requires more than 
75 per cent of an employee's time. Only your record clerks 
should have that schedule, and I am not in favor of even 
that. Let us say 72 per cent, but not 75 per cent. 

A personnel department is like a firehouse. The firemen 
do not spend all their time going to fires. There are times 
when they must polish the brass on the engine. A rainy day 
is a godsend to a personnel department. No one comes in, 
so you can catch up on your odd jobs. On your staff it is 
better to have more older employees than young ones. One 
should be an old trouper, male or female, who knows all the 
answers. He may not have the steam of a younger person, 
but he handles personnel problems with greater cunning. 

Take time to think. A Charles P. Steinmetz with his feet 
on a desk was worth more to his company than ten execu- 
tives out in the plant who were as busy as switch engines. 
Also remember that a personnel department should not 
spring in full panoply from the brain of Jove, meaning from 
the brain of the Big Boss. Grow slowly and you grow 

The greater the turnover, the larger the personnel depart- 
ment must be. The size of a department decreases as the 
I.Q. of the employees increases. The higher the intelligence, 
the fewer the problems. The fewer the problems, the smaller 
the turnover. 

Personnel Department Paper Work. — The amount of 
paper work your personnel department will have to do de- 
pends upon the scope of your activities. Personnel depart- 
ments are established for the assistance of management in 
administering human relations. How great that assistance 
may be varies as widely as the types of management itself. 

One personnel department may be only a repository of 
records pertaining to past and present employees. Such a 
unit scarcely deserves to be designated a personnel depart- 
ment. Another may run the whole gamut. It will include 
hiring, testing, training, rating, transfers and promotions, 
restaurant supervision, job analysis and description, medi- 


cal and safety programs, employee publications, welfare and 
recreation, labor relations, and employee counseling, all of 
which require paper work. 

Any activity will have a certain amount of paper work. 
For your peace of mind keep it down as much as possible. 
Whatever you may think during moments of disgruntle- 
ment, the Big Boss did not reach his present eminence alto- 
gether by accident ; and he is as able to spot a useless report 
as the next man. The obligatory paper work has to do with 
pertinent record keeping and reporting. It is up to you to 
see that what you do is pertinent. 

What paper work you do depends, too, on the size of your 
staff. If you are hired to organize a personnel department, 
make sure that your proposed record keeping is not a dupli- 
cation of what is done elsewhere in the organization. Under- 
take nothing unless you are adequately staffed to keep the 
record current. A skimped record is a misleading record. 

If you take over a going personnel department, you can 
look at its paper work with objectivity. You may find use- 
less material, once valuable, perhaps, but now fossilized like 
a shell in a Paleozoic stratum. Drop it as soon as you can 
without criticism. Never forget that habit is strong and 
that there are employees and executives wedded to past prac- 
tices because they are hallowed by time. In miniature it is 
what John Stuart Mill had in mind when he wrote, "The 
despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance 
to human advancement." No executive knows that better 
than a personnel director. 

If you are starting a personnel department, you will in- 
herit forms from those departments that are surrendering 
functions to you. These should be sacrosanct until you can 
quietly get the Big Boss to consent to the change or the abol- 
ishing of them if you do not find them adequate or necessary 
under the new setup. Now, at the beginning of your regime, 
is the time to get personnel forms from other organizations. 
Big commercial printers and dealers in office supplies can 
also supply you with forms. Some may be just what you 


need "as is." Others may give you ideas for forms you will 
work out yourself. 

Unless you are a glutton for punishment and want the 
doubtful glory of having a number of clerks under you, I 
think you will be wise to refuse, if you can, productivity, 
time keeping, and other routine records. Let the comp- 
troller or general manager keep them. When you need them 
for job reviews, they are available. If you want to make 
yourself a job, do a lot of useless paper work. But someday 
a hard-bitted Big Boss will come along and toss you out back 
of the stable, and that is where you will belong. 

Forms Leading to Employment. — I am an advocate of 
simplicity in forms, especially those leading to employment. 
I have seen forms that I feel sure had perfectly useless ques- 
tions. All they did was harass and puzzle applicants. 

The first form in a department where there is a line of ap- 
plicants at the rail is the preliminary or introduction sheet. 
This is a skeleton: name and address, age and education, 
where and how long last employed, last salary or rate of pay. 
All of them I accept, save the salary question. 

Let me pause here to say what I think about salary ques- 
tions. They may be defended as timesavers, but they always 
seem to me to be an admission that the interviewer feels he 
needs to have his judgment supported by the judgment of a 
previous employer. I know what the job I have to fill is 
priced at. If it is established at $45 a week, what do I care 
if the man who fills it successfully made only $30 a week in 
his last position? If I offer him $35 a week and he takes it, I 
think I am chiseling. 

That point of view will bring a howl from many grim- 
visaged employers, but I stand ready to defend it. I know : 
buy cheap, sell dear. But that slogan is not always the same 
as buy honestly, sell honestly. "The laborer is worthy of his 
hire." The hire is set. It is up to the personnel director to 
get a laborer who is worthy of it. 

This preliminary form, if it presents a satisfactory appli- 
cant for an opening or even an applicant whom the depart- 


ment may wish to know more about with a future opening in 
mind, unlatches the gate and ushers the candidate to the 
table where he fills out an Interview Sheet. 

Now the applicant is too often confronted with a sheet 
that has four pages, 8% by 11 inches each, filled with printed 
questions that are almost as searching as a questionnaire 
required of an employee in a factory making secret supplies 
for the United States government. Send for some of these. 
Study them. Then make up your own sheet, but for heaven's 
sake leave out the useless questions. If you must know the 
answers, have your interviewers ask the questions orally. 

I am not going to give you a model Interview Sheet. 
There is none. Name, address, telephone number, intro- 
duced by. Of course. Names and addresses of two close 
relatives? Not unless you expect a truck to run over the 
applicant before he gets out of the yard. Marital status, 
American citizen or no. No one objects to these answers. 

"What do you do outside business hours?" Again I think 
I should answer, "None of your business. " If what I do out- 
side working hours affects my output or my judgment or 
company relations, then the company should fire me. But it 
has no right to ask me what I do before then. What does 
the chairman of the board do? What does the vice-president 
in charge of animalculado? Well, I do the same. The chair- 
man goes to Florida, and I go to Shrub Oak. The vice-presi- 
dent goes home at night and smokes what Svengali. as I 
remember it, called "a cigar of the Havana," and I smoke 
the mildest cigarette I can find. 

Look over some of these sheets and pick out the imperti- 
nent questions for yourself. If you think in all seriousness 
that an applicant for the position of shipping platform 
checker should be asked, "What books have you read re- 
cently?" please close this book right here. I can do nothing 
for you. 

I suppose the personnel directors who have such Interview 
Sheets will answer that they need an intimate life story of 
the applicant because the paper is filed and reference is made 


to it later. I still will say that it is amusing that any sane 
head of a personnel department would ask on a sheet given 
to one and all who apply, "What do you consider your great- 
est weakness?" It would be more fun to have this question, 
"All inhibitions aside, what would you like to have as your 
greatest weakness?" The answers would give Jung and 
Freud and you something to think about. 

The third form is the one used after the man has been 
accepted for employment. Now more searching questions 
must be asked; more about schooling, more about previous 
employments, more about family and dependents, listing of 
personal references and business references. No health or 
medical questions, please. Leave them to your medical de- 

At the same time the new employee fills out a card for the 
paymaster. This gives his Social Security account number 
and his status in relation to the United States government 
withholding tax. If your company has group insurance, now 
may be the time to get necessary vital statistics on an in- 
surance card. 

Before we pass on from the three forms at entering, you 
should be reminded that there may well be special applica- 
tion blanks for special purposes. A personnel director who 
scouts college-graduating classes is well advised to have a 
form to cover the educational background in relation to his 
needs. The same can be said of a form to cover special man- 
ual skills. 

In writing about the final application form I had in mind a 
printed sheet to be filed in a folder. This sheet gives only 
the introductory selection information. There is another 
type which some personnel directors prefer. It is an enve- 
lope that combines selection information and space for later 
job-history data. In the envelope can be kept references 
and other information, and it can be filed in drawers, whereas 
a folder requires more space in filing cabinets. 

I prefer the application that is placed in a folder. The 
reason is that I have a great deal of correspondence about 


many employees. So much that the envelope type could not 
hold it conveniently. After a few years a man who has ac- 
cumulated correspondence about three or four liens, a tilt 
with a domestic relations court, and innumerable duns from 
installment houses has a folder bulging with a turbulent rec- 
ord that five or six envelopes could not contain. 

Forms for References. — You will need these forms for 
the convenient assembling of a past history of the new em- 
ployee. These are (1) the business reference, (2) the school 
reference, and (3) the personal or character reference. These 
forms are conventional. I regret to say that too many of 
them go into too much detail. Then they are mailed out 
with no discrimination. 

A request will come in for information about a man em- 
ployed as a window-card artist from October 10, 1922. to 
April 5, 1923. And the form will have a long list of ques- 
tions, maybe asking whether the man had (a)' clearness of 
thought, (b) memory, (c) capable oral expression, (d) self- 
reliance, and (e) moral judgment. Being naturally polite. I 
answer the inquiry — but not on the form. I write: "In an- 
swer to your inquiry of September 5, Air. John Doe worked 
for us from October 10, 1922, to April 5, 1923. He resigned 
to take another position. There is nothing on record against 

Those questions I did not answer are just slush. After 
twenty years and more John Doe is not the same man he was 
when he worked for us. And when he worked for us he was 
writing window cards, giving us no cause to rate him for 
clearness of thought, memory, capable oral expression, and 
all the rest. 

No personnel director has ever written back to complain 
that I did not answer specifically the questions asked. That 
confirms my opinion that the searching questions do not 
mean anything to the company asking them. When I get 
one of these overdone reference sheets, I always wonder 
whether the personnel director inherited the form and was 
too indolent to change it or suddenly had to make a showing 


to pacify the Big Boss and concocted the form after imbib- 
ing four Old Fashioneds. 

Business references are usually reliable, but for the real 
low-down get the former employer on the telephone. He 
will give you word-of-mouth information which he may not 
be willing to put down on paper. The more recent the em- 
ployment, the more clear cut the reference. I send only to 
the latest three employers. If the last of the three covers 
long-term employment, ten or fifteen years, I may send only 
to that one company for a reference. 

Public schools and parochial schools are hard boiled and 
give accurate class standing and teacher appraisal of quali- 
ties not capable of quantitative record. Some private schools 
are "soft" about references. 

Personal or character references are usually like letters of 
introduction — pleasant blurbs. I prefer to stand on business 
and school references. 

When I send to a large school for a reference, I give the 
date of the employee's birth and the name of his father. You 
will be surprised how many boys with the same name there 
are in the school during a ten-year period. 

Another source of confusion in a city with a large foreign- 
born population is that the children often Anglicize their 
names on leaving school or take an entirely new one. So 
when I send to the school for a reference and word comes 
back that no such pupil ever attended the institution, I call 
to my office Miss Sylvia Northumberland or Mr. Hildebrand 
Montague and ask her or him what the family name was be- 
fore it was dropped for the aristocratic moniker. 

The Rating Scale for Interview Form. — I think I am on 
record in an earlier chapter as not thinking too highly of 
rating scales for introductory or hiring interviews. Three 
good words can be said for them: stop, look, listen. These 
three things a rating scale requires an interviewer to do. 
The scale makes it certain that no important ingredient of 
the hiring recipe is overlooked. 

Probably I cannot get up much enthusiasm for this seal- 


ing by rote because I believe a seasoned personnel director 
has in mind the divisions of the scale and comes close enough 
to a printed scale by his own automatic appraisal during an 
interview. Adopt a rating scale someone else uses or create 
your own if you like. Make it simple. My guess is that 
when you get set in your job and have confidence in your 
judgment you will let the form languish and die unless you 
use it as a memory prod when the sheet is revived weeks or 
months later. 

I have a simplified scale which is used in connection with 
hiring interviews when there is no present opening but where 
the applicant is such likely material that the Interview 
Sheet is to be kept very much alive. The interviewer checks 
the attributes for which we watch. The scale, completed 
immediately after the interview, is then stapled to the sheet. 
Later when the sheet is inspected, the scale is there to re- 
fresh the interviewer's recollection. 

Forms for Job Histories. — No general survey of personnel 
work should pause long to discuss forms for job histories. 
The reason is that they are as diverse as the types of com- 
panies which use them. Often within a type they will vary 
greatly because one management will stress one facet of the 
worker's production and a second will stress another. A 
third history — if it can be called that — may merely show the 
transfers and raises. 

The envelope type of employment record, which also 
serves for the job history, has already been mentioned. A 
second type is the folding card. This is more convenient 
where entries are continually being made to bring up to date 
the records of hundreds of employees, especially where the 
record covers attendance and punctuality, production or 
sales, errors, ratings, training courses, and other data neces- 
sary for a picture of the employee or as a unit to be tabu- 
lated to get an over-all picture. 

The form should be large enough to cover a job history 
for several years at least. It is a waste of time to have to 


enter nonrecurring data and a resume of the history on an 
annual card. 

The Employee and the Company Part. — Comes the day 
when the company and the employee sever their business 
relationship. However it happens, it requires personnel de- 
partment attention. The employee can resign — or just not 
come in tomorrow morning. The management can dispense 
with his services by a layoff or by a discharge. 

The severance interview will be discussed later. 

For future reference there must be some form on file in the 
personnel department. This is the final chapter in the em- 
ployee's job history. It is the final chapter unless the layoff 
is temporary. The form can be rating by the foreman or 
department head. A form may be made out by the person- 
nel director after an exit interview, but this will be only a 
supplement to the department rating. It will chronicle atti- 
tudes and reactions. Only from the department can come 
the work report. 

A severance form cannot have mathematical exactness ex- 
cept in terms of work activity, such as production, punc- 
tuality, and sometimes accuracy. Such terms to be checked 
as "Cooperation," "Loyalty," "Dependability," "Personal 
Appearance," and so on are capable of as many interpreta- 
tions as there are checking supervisors. What to one would 
be excellent cooperation, to another would be only good. On 
the basis of the work done one foreman would recommend 
reemployment, another would not recommend it. 

On the whole, I do not believe I have ever seen a final rat- 
ing sheet for employees that was not a good enough form. 
I can disagree with what the department manager may write 
on the sheet, but as for the average sheet itself it is about 
as well standardized as we can get it with our present knowl- 
edge of personnel procedure. 

The checking sheets have columns that run from A to D — ■ 
Excellent, Good, Fair, Unsatisfactory. The characteristics 
include Cooperation and Loyalty, Initiative, Tact, Personal 


Appearance, Speed, Volume of Work, Dependability, and 
Knowledge of Position. There should be a line to give the 
reason for leaving; another line to record willingness to re- 
employ in the same department or to recommend transfer 
to another. 

If a personnel director receives from a department head 
a final rating sheet that he feels is not entirely fair to the 
employee being closed out, I think he is justified in making 
a notation on the sheet that he dissents from the verdict. 
This is after he has talked to the department head and is still 
of the same opinion. 

Other Personnel Forms. — There are myriad forms used 
in personnel departments. You will inherit a number of 
them from other departments if you are establishing your 
department de novo. The majority will be slips, such as re- 
port transfers, wage increases, accidents, medical admissions 
or rejections, forms pertaining to group insurance, requests 
for job terminations, and, in retail stores, shopping permits. 
You probably will have to develop a form for work-perform- 
ance review for advancement, because it is not likely that 
there is anything so formal ahead of the establishment of 
the personnel department. This is true also of the Person- 
nel Budget form and of the Labor Turnover Analysis form. 

How much paper work should your personnel department 
do? That question reminds me of Abraham Lincoln's reply 
when asked how long a man's legs should be. "Long enough 
to reach to the ground." Well, your department should do 
enough paper work to cover the demands adequately, but 
not a filing card or report sheet more. 

For interoffice communications have a distinctive color 
for paper and envelopes. I have a terrible bilious yellow that 
stands out like a prairie fire at dusk. Put an envelope with 
my color into the hands of an employee and he sits up and 
takes notice. The color scares the lasting daylights out of 
most new employees, and when they get a communication 
from us, they come on the run to do as we have requested. 

This is probably as good a place as any to speak about 


your dead-letter office. All mail that cannot be delivered 
by your incoming mail room should be delivered to your de- 
partment. You have the company roster and names and 
addresses of previous employees. Let one person handle 
this mail. Because repeat mailings often come, you will find 
it helpful to keep a list of names with such addresses as you 
can find. Inquiries are made of you about mail that came 
at some past time. Your book will often show it. The per- 
son to handle dead-letter mail is your roster clerk. She is 
the one, also, to whom your telephone board routes all calls 
that cannot be plugged through because the person called 
is not listed on the telephone directory and is also otherwise 
unknown in the telephone room. 



No other chapter in this book can possibly give me so 
much pleasure to write as this one. I have decided ideas 
about bosses and phony bosses. I shall set them down here 
with the hope that they will prove helpful to everybody. 
Particularly with the hope that the phony bosses will read 
this chapter and see themselves, not as in a glass darkly, but 
in that revealing light that shone down on Saul of Tarsus 
and converted him. "They that are whole have no need of 
the physician, but they that are sick." 

You are acquainted with the business and industrial con- 
notation of the word "boss." I shall now acquaint you with 
the meaning of phony boss. If I were asked to write a dic- 
tionary definition, I should say that he is a counterfeit, a 
person passing current with management for what he really 
is not. ' He has a lack of regard for human relationships and 
acts accordingly. Often he is ignorant, needing training: 
too often he is willfully perverse, needing discipline. There 
you have my word portrait of the phony boss. I have no re- 
spect for the persons it portrays. In discussing phony bosses 
conversationally I use much stronger language than I can 
use here. 

In the course of a fairly long commerce with the world, 
during years of amused security and years of anxious in- 
security, I have observed in action a great many bosses and 
phony bosses. From going to and fro in the earth and from 
walking up and down in it, I have come to certain conclu- 
sions. Some of them I shall now share with you. 

It seems to me that it is more important for a personnel 
director to know the mental processes of men and women 





in administrative and supervisory positions than to know 
what is going on in the minds of the workers. So much that 
affects the employee results from the attitudes of those above 

Some companies have training programs for junior execu- 
tives and foremen. Yet there will not be a harmonious, co- 
ordinated system of management in relation to the rank and 
file of a company until the top-flight executives, as well as 
those down the line, are thoroughly indoctrinated with a 
sense of responsibility to employees based on correct person- 
nel practice. That is almost asking the impossible until a 
great many of the present race of overlords have died off and 
the younger executives come to the presidencies and vice- 
presidencies of companies, bringing today's and tomorrow's 
training in industrial psychology and practice. 

I devoutly believe that the ideal employer-employee rela- 
tionship is an inverted pyramid balanced on just one thing 
— justice. Unless justice is the foundation, the broad top 
surface is uneven and fretted with difficulties and inequities. 
Now do not misunderstand me. I am not maintaining that 
justice is unilateral — something to be practiced by only one 
of the two partners. However, in this chapter I am discuss- 
ing bosses and phony bosses. I shall come to the other part- 
ner and the other partner's leadership later. 

Justice in the Business World. — When I was a youth I 
not only worked for a successful Big Boss but lived in his 
home and had the benefit of his uninhibited business opin- 
ions. One day I was sounding off about something I did not 
like, something that made me feel I was a victim. His an- 
swer was, "I know, but you cannot run a business and hope 
to do justice to everyone." 

That dictum hit me between the eyes. I was young. 
Through the years I have recognized its pseudocogency, but 
I have never become reconciled to it as an ultimate truth. 
At least justice can be your goal. I was brought up on Aris- 
totle's definition, "Justice is giving every man his due." The 
other day. reading William Ewart Gladstone's "Juventis 


Mundi," I came across his definition of justice. He wrote, 
" Justice is moral symmetry." Is that clearer than the other? 
We may well ask, "What is due a man?" The answer comes 
in a statement colored by self-interest; whereas, when we 
speak of justice as moral symmetry, I think we place the 
emphasis on self as a spiritual entity obligated to render 

The true purpose of all training programs of executives 
and supervisors should be to develop that moral symmetry 
that will render justice to stockholders, management, and 
employees. The true purpose is to turn phony bosses into 
genuine bosses, men and women who are trained in human 
relations as they pertain to leadership in the business world. 

The Big Boss at the Top. — I wish to say a good word for 
the Big Boss. When I speak of him — thinking of some I 
have had — I somehow put a measure of affection into the 
words "Big Boss." No matter how the Big Boss got to the 
top, there he is — responsible for all the activities, responsible 
in these United States for the profits that keep a business a 
going concern. If he is one with the great majority of leaders, 
he has come up step by step. He does not have horns and 
cloven hoofs ; he has been patterned by his era — and the era 
is getting better. 

Some thirty years ago I was discussing with a Chicago 
book publisher the business practices of a wealthy man who 
had started his career selling to farmers a dubious mixture 
supposed to be a remedy for whatever ailed his livestock. It 
kept him moving from community to community because he 
could not go back and make a second sale. He passed on 
from this to manufacturing other products, but his manners 
and methods did not change. "Let me tell you." said the 
publisher to me, "in another hundred years a man with his 
business morals will not be allowed to do business in this 
country." Only a third of a century has passed since then, 
and already that sharper Big Boss would find the going hard. 
The world is moving on. 

Through the years and through the centuries, the Big Boss, 


in the main, has been a man of integrity. His word has al- 
ways been as good as his bond. As I look back no further 
than my own youth, and back perhaps to the days my father 
has told me about, I find that with our today's perpective 
the criticism of the Big Boss is that he has been interested in 
his things more than in his workers. (That statement ap- 
pears many times in this book.) He has been skimming the 
cream of a continent and not thinking how thin was the milk 
he was leaving for his employees. 

All that is changing. The inexorable pressure of world- 
wide humanitarian ideas and demands is setting higher and 
higher standards. We speak glibly of fascists. I never per- 
sonally knew a Big Boss who could have that label pinned 
on him. Perhaps the foremost candidate, and he is long 
dead, was George F. Baer, once president of the Reading 
Railroad. During an anthracite strike in 1902, which greatly 
affected his railroad, he said, "The rights and interests of the 
laboring man will be protected and cared for — not by the la- 
bor agitator, but by the Christian men to whom God in His 
wisdom has given the control of the property interests of the 
country, and upon the successful management of which so 
much depends." 

A howl went up from one end of the country to the other. 
Today no "big" man would think of saying such a thing. 
Today America would laugh from one end of the country to 
the other. That shows how we are advancing. 

Yes, the Big Boss is coming around, but he is not yet per- 
sonnel-minded. He wants to do something, but often he 
does not know what or how. It is for the personnel director 
to tell him what and how. Part of the trouble is that most 
Big Bosses have not unreserved confidence in personnel men. 
A second part of the trouble is that there are not yet enough 
personnel men who deserve the entire confidence of the Big 

A Big Boss can have a general reputation for a philan- 
thropic attitude toward his workers. Some of his employees 
may regard him as a philanthropist. Yet philanthropy is 


not business. He may have liberal ideas and be kind 
hearted. So far so good. Until he ties in these traits with 
good business practice, he is still haphazard and unscientific. 
What is good business practice in human relations requires 
an approach and an execution based on personnel experience. 
The President of the United States makes a treaty by and 
with the advice of the Senate. The Big Boss could well make 
major employee decisions by and with the advice of his 
personnel director. 

You Scout for the Big Boss. — As personnel director, you 
must be mindful that you are honest eyes and ears for the 
Big Boss. He dwells on the heights. His contacts are with 
the staff officers of the company. They talk to him in terms 
of things. You talk to him in terms of people. He is a 
lonely man, almost a prisoner of his exalted position. Some- 
times you read about a Big Boss who makes a practice of 
roaming around the plant or dropping off his private car 
to visit with the men in the roundhouse or switch-shanty, 
but not often. 

I have known Big Bosses who were afraid to walk through 
a department. They were afraid they might drop an in- 
nocuous word or two that would be understood as a do-or-die 
order. Some executive or supervisor would so interpret his 
passing remark as to upset the whole scheme of things. The 
word flashes down the line, 'The Old Man wants it this 
way." So the new procedure is instituted no matter what 
snarls develop farther on in the plant. No wonder the Big 
Boss stays on his mountain peak. 

The Polished Horn of a Dilemma. — The Big Boss faces a 
dilemma when a poor decision of a phony boss is put up to 
him on appeal. He must either support the position of his 
executive and do an injustice to the employee or support the 
employee and thereby give a black eye to the executive. He 
must seize one horn of the dilemma. My observation has 
been that the Big Boss so often supports his executive that 
this horn of the dilemma representing company interest is 
highly hand polished by the frequent seizure. 


It is a ticklish business. While the Big Boss may give the 
executive a drubbing in private, the employees do not know it. 
They seethe with the injustice. Of course, for a major error 
of judgment the Big Boss may boot the executive out of the 
organization. But most injustices to employees, single in- 
stances, not cumulated, are not great enough to warrant an 
executive's dismissal. Yes, justice is giving every man his 
due. The Big Boss can reconcile himself to his biased deci- 
sion by thinking, "It is better for one employee to suffer 
than for me to fail to support my executive.'' I think he is 
just soft-soaping his Sunday conscience. 

When the Big Boss thinks he has to seize the polished horn 
of such a dilemma, he is getting a short-range result, but 
he may be getting long-range trouble. He may give the 
company what he thinks is its due, but that is for today. It 
may not be what the company should have over a long 
period. A phony boss can often do an injustice so covertly 
that a grievance committee with all the eyes of Argus can- 
not catch him. But the executive who does it is all that the 
adjective here used can represent him to be. 

Of course there is a remedy — personnel education. There 
must be not only education but a willingness to accept it and 
to practice it. 

The Big Boss Shuts His Eyes. — One thing that will make 
you wonder when you study your company's bosses and 
phony bosses is why some important executive — if there is 
one such as I describe in your company — goes on year after 
year with the confidence and support of the Big Boss, when 
you can see that the man is a tyrant and a sadist or perhaps 
a sneak and a snake. Well, I do not know the answer my- 
self. I have puzzled over the question for years. I can only 

The nearest I can come to it is that the executive is valu- 
able to the organization (or has been valuable in some past 
time), and his value (or the memory of his former value) 
outweighs his disagreeable qualities in the eyes of the Big- 
Boss. Besides, the Big Boss cannot know how much em- 


ployees have been mistreated and misrepresented, terrorized 
and victimized. 

I think that the Big Boss shuts his eyes to the shortcom- 
ings of his department head. When I say that, I am not 
seeking to tear down the head of the business. I am merely 
pointing out that you may have to witness sometimes a com- 
promise with personnel ideals. It is something you have to 
expect. The Big Boss finds himself in the position of the 
Quaker who has to send the devil to market. After all. pro- 
duction for profit is a human and fallible undertaking. Xot 
all the captains in an army are Seigneurs de Bayard or Sir 
Philip Sidneys or worthy to be remembered with La Tour 
d'Auvergne dead on the field of honor. 

Some Big Bosses will spend time and money finding out 
about the best material and the best equipment and at the 
same time think God gave them intuition to know all they 
need to know about the best way to handle their employees 
— if they think about employees at all. I like to believe that 
the day will come when a Big Boss — any boss — when put to 
the test will "turn upon the poles of truth/' as Francis Bacon 
so quaintly put it, and not upon the poles of decisions that 
spell shortsighted expediency. 

Some of Our Problem Children. — I cannot delineate all 
the phony bosses for you. Their name is legion. They are 
like contagious diseases — some innocuous, some virulent. 
Yet do not make the mistake of putting in this category 
every executive or supervisor who disagrees with you or you 
will tar yourself with the same stick. There are certain ones 
you can very well call your problem children. The problem 
is how you are going to handle them to get the best out of 
them for your company. 

Polonious was an old bag of wind, but some of the wind 
was salty and stimulating. He might well have been advis- 
ing a young personnel director when he said, "Beware of 
entrance to a quarrel." If you can help it, io not get into a 
fight with one of your problem children. 

Polonious was wise enough to know that not always can 


you keep out, so he added cannily, "But being in, bear 't 
that the opposed may beware of thee." Translated into your 
own bailiwick, it means that you should be dead sure you 
have the Big Boss back of you when you go to the mat with 
your problem child. 

But I warn you that even with the winning cards in your 
hand, the Big Boss is not happy about the fracas. The prob- 
lem child may be misguided, but there is some inherent value 
in him or he would not be in authority. He is a company 
investment, and for you to set him back on his heels openly 
knocks a number of points off the investment. When you, 
perhaps an underling in his opinion, win with the evident 
assistance of the Big Boss, then you have wounded his van- 
ity. And after all, this sense of importance, this amour- 
propre, is what a problem child lives by. He will never for- 
give you. 

So you will be smarter if you avoid a clash, especially 
while you are still new — and weak. You will be smarter still 
if you never have a clash. In the fable the genial sun did a 
better job than the blustering wind. Try being genial and 
patient. You will be surprised some day to have the Big 
Boss agree with you about the problem child. When he 
opens up and talks candidly to you about the man, then you 
know that you have arrived. 

Our Old Friend, the Stuffed Shirt. — I am as partial to 
old gags and old wheezes as I am to old friends. There is 
one which often comes to mind when I am vis-a-vis a stuffed 
shirt. It is that delightful question that is first cousin to 
"Have you stopped beating your wife?" It is "Mister, do 
you stuff your shirts yourself or do you buy them already 
stuffed?" When I think of it, I have to bite my lip to keep 
from laughing. Among your phony bosses you are likely to 
find a stuffed shirt. 

In the business world the stuffed shirt is usually a seden- 
tary pomposity. He likes to have lesser luminaries revolve 
about him, somewhat awed by his solemnity and power. He 
is lacking in a genial sense of humor. God give me business 


associates who have an honest, hearty, unacid sense of hu- 
mor! One reason industrial psychologists look so solemn is 
that they need a defense mechanism which they must con- 
stantly wear as a mask in dealing w T ith stuffed-shirt vice- 
presidents. The psychologist knows that if you laugh the 
stuffed shirt will think you are laughing at him. Well, if 
you are not laughing at him, you should be — but inwardly. 

So imitate the psychologist. Be solemn. Particularly when 
your problem child makes more money than you do. A 
stuffed shirt is the $10,000-a-year executive who will speak 
to a $5,000-a-year executive, but who, on being advanced to 
$20,000 a year, will speak to no one lower than a 810.000-a- 
year executive. 

Fhony Bossing through Stooges. — I knew one phony boss 
who had what I considered an amusing trait, but nonetheless 
highly irritating — amusing to me because I was not the vic- 
tim. Although he would call in an underling and excoriate 
him with a scalpel of sadistic calm and precision, usually 
in the presence of his secretariat, he would send one of his 
stooges to deliver a vicarious reprimand to an upper under- 
ling. That always seemed cowardly to me, a refusal to face 
an issue with a man who was often his intellectual equal 
and always his moral superior. 

Once I came within the baleful orbit of this phony boss, 
but I refused to be a victim. Several times a funereal stooge 
descended upon me with a message of displeasure from the 
throne. I always put up a stout defense to the deprecating 
and apologetic messenger. But, right or wrong, I always 
ended, "And, furthermore, you go back and tell him that I 
said for him to go to hell." I was not sure that my invita- 
tion would not be reported, but if it had been I was as ready 
as an Irishman to enjoy the ensuing shindy and once more 
be on my way. 

Phony Boss Vignettes. — I could go on classifying phony 
bosses and giving them scientific treatment, but it is not nec- 
essary. You will soon spot them. Well, let's consider sev- 
eral of them anyway. 


There is the grouch. He may have stomach ulcers or a 
shrewish wife. You can cure ulcers, but I do not know what 
to do about a wife who raises so much Cain at breakfast that 
her husband reaches the office feeling like the devil. I know 
one grouch who was cured by a stiff course of vitamin pills 
and he turned out to be a pleasant fellow. 

There is the jealous phony boss. Probably the first one 
whom you will diagnose correctly. Jealous that some other 
boss will impinge on his power or authority. Jealous that 
someone under him will be recognized as having made some 
improvement in method or manner of handling the business 
of his department. For that reason he has a hand in every- 
thing that is done. 

On a minor scale he reminds me of a man in a Saturday 
Evening Post story. The story had the title, "The Man 
Who Thought He Was It." It was the best business fiction 
I have ever read, not calling ; Lorimer's "Letters of a Self- 
made Merchant to His Son" fiction. 

The Man Who Thought He Was It took over the manage- 
ment of the sales department, as I remember it, and he really 
took it over. He made all decisions and he closed all con- 
tracts. If a big deal was to be put over in St. Louis, no mat- 
ter how well it was going The Man would turn up in that 
city for the kill. Well, you have one guess to tell how long 
it took him to disorganize his sales staff. Look out for the 
man who thinks he is it. And don't you try to be him your- 
self either. 

There is the intolerant executive and the touchy execu- 
tive and the cowardly executive and the know-it-all exec- 
utive, the last of course being a twin of The Man Who 
Thought He Was It. All phony bosses. 

You go to the executive in charge of the Whamfloosis de- 
partment and say, "There is a man in my office who says he 
thinks we could be doing a better job in making our new 
Whamfloosis Series E. He has a good background and he 
says he can improve the product. Would you like to talk 
to him?" 


"'No. I think our whole Whamfloosis line is perfect." 

"Then you don't want to talk to this man?" 

"No. And that's that." 

Well, that's truly that. My personal opinion is that, de- 
spite this executive's proved value, in many ways he is still 
a phony boss. 

The touchy boss? Oh, him. An employee has no rule by 
which he can avoid having his explanation or question touch 
off a mean remark. Says the touchy boss with a scathing 
tone, "Are you trying to correct me?" or "Don't tell me what 
I ought to do" or "Do you think you are running this de- 

All the poor employee can do is be apologetic and crawl. 
I just throw up my hands when I think how tough a touchy 
boss can be on minor employees who cannot fight back. He 
certainly is a phony boss and mighty small potatoes to boot. 

Then there is the phony boss who just cannot keep his 
hands off the women. Usually he is harmless and indeed 
slightly amusing — even to the women. Occasionally not. 

You have all heard stories of the girl who always picked 
up a hatpin to take in with her when her phony boss rang 
his bell. Well, there is nothing you can do about that. If 
the girl finally makes a squawk, that is a sign, an indulgent 
management will say, that she has the screaming meemies 
and deserves to be thrown out on her ear — which she is al- 
ways. (Sometimes with magnified severance pay.) And 
life goes on. 

The young executive is sometimes a hard nut for the per- 
sonnel director. His great fault too often is temper. Per- 
haps a word or two can help him, but you are puzzled how 
to say that word or two. Perhaps it is best done by indirec- 
tion, for after all you are not his line superior, the one to 
give admonition or reproof. You often have had no hand 
in picking him. He has no obligation to you, but you can 
help him if you gain his confidence. This is the man who 
can be helped by a management course for young executives. 
More companies should institute this course. 


Discussion groups for the study of human relations in 
business should be not only for those already in positions of 
authority but for the young men and women of promise. 
Such courses will give you some relative markings and com- 
parative values. They weed out those who are not ready for 
advancement and those who should never be advanced. As 
George Eliot put it, 'The vague consciousness of being a fine 
fellow is no guarantee of success in any line of business." 

Training and experience in living, especially unusual ex- 
perience, bring wisdom to many young executives and to 
those destined to be executives. I watched a youth grow 
from a messenger to a junior clerk. I shook hands with him 
and bade him Godspeed when he went away to war. Occa- 
sional letters came from him. One day a letter came from a 
foxhole in New Guinea. In it was this : 

The Army hasn't changed my outlook on life, but it has 
given me a good sense of responsibility. Especially since I 
got my commission. Handling men is a full-time job. You 
have to treat each one as an individual and not take them all 
for so many head of cattle to push and herd around. 

Yes, Lieutenant, handling men is a full-time job. And it 
is not a job for phony bosses. 

The Good Boss. — You will know the good boss by the 
pleasant atmosphere throughout his office, his division, or 
his section. He gives credit ungrudgingly, frankly, and 
openly where credit is due. He inspirits his employees with 
his own enthusiasm. Anyone under him can come with a 
problem, business or personal, with the feeling that he will 
be encouraged or helped. He knows how to give out the 
work fairly and how to value it when completed. He does 
not drive his people ; he leads them. He knows the job thor- 
oughly and the ability of his workers. He is alive to new 
methods and is eager to try out those presented by others. 
He makes careful progress reports on employees. He keeps 
nothing secret that, within limits of company policy, he can 
reveal to stimulate interest. He trains conscientiously, pro- 


moting as soon as he can. When employees deserve it. he 
fights to get them more money. He upgrades with pleasure 
and demotes with sorrow. He is genial and friendly, but at 
all times conscious that the command and responsibility are 
his. He keeps himself free of routine that he may cope 
promptly with the unexpected. 

There are such bosses. I, yes, I know many such. I ad- 
mire them tremendously. 

The next time you are in Washington, D.C., visit the statue 
of John Paul Jones, just to read on the base the message he 
sent to the Maritime Committee in 1775. He was giving his 
ideas of the attributes officers of the infant American Navy 
should have. What he said is one of the best descriptions of 
what a boss should be in the world of today. Hear him : 

He should be the soul of tact, patience, justice, firmness, and 
charity — no meritorious act of a subordinate should escape his 
attention or be left to pass without its reward, if even the reward 
be only one word of approval. 

Conversely, he should not be blind to a single fault in any 
subordinate though, at the same time, he should be quick and 
unfailing to distinguish error from malice, thoughtlessness from 
incompetency, and well-meant shortcomings from heedless and 
stupid blunders. As he should be universal and impartial in his 
rewards and approval of merit, so should he be judicial and un- 
bending in his punishment or reproof of misconduct. 

There spoke a man. His words are a remarkable, clear de- 
scription of the good boss who has moral symmetry. At that 
time John Paul Jones was just twenty-eight years old. Truly 
he showed then that he was already a great leader and a 
great soul. The brilliant sea battles against the "Drake" 
and the "Serapis" were fought two years later. 

As I read those words, two young soldiers were reading 
them too. When they had finished, one turned to his com- 
panion and said with awe in his voice, "It would be a great 
world if we could have leaders like that." 

There is nothing I can add. That young soldier said it all 
— for the armed services, for civilian life. 



What employees naturally want is a pay check that they 
think is full recompense for their skill and time. Yet what 
personnel directors are learning more and more is that what 
employees, especially those whose employment records are 
running into the years, want more and more are recognition 
as integral parts of the organization and status on the job. 
Some do not even believe that the pay check comes first. 
These acknowledgments of personality by management 
should be made from the first day of employment. To my 
way of thinking, totalitarianism is as stupid and stultifying 
in business as it is in government. So give employees recog- 
nition and status. 

In personnel work all formalities and instruction to fit the 
employee to the job are listed under the head of Induction. 
The induction period ends when the employee is regarded as 
"set," when he is doing the full amount of work expected of 
him. For a man taking a job like that from which he came, 
the induction will probably be nothing more than an ex- 
planation of company policy and rules of his department, 
introduction to his foreman and fellow employees in his im- 
mediate group, and a tour of at least the part of the plant 
with which he must be familiar. For a man who must be 
trained for a specific job, induction covers the training period 
as well. 

As the position scale ascends, the more important it be- 
comes to orient the new employee. A new supervisor will 
have to know what decisions he can make himself, the com- 
pany policy on which they are based, and what questions 
must be referred to higher authority. 



Whatever the induction process, the new employee must 
be handled by the personnel department as an individual 
and not as a badge number. The courtesy and man-to-man 
attitude which characterized the hiring interview must be 
maintained through induction. In fact, it must be company 
policy to continue through the term of employment the 
same thoughtful consideration of the employee ; that is social 
recognition. It pays in better dividends and better company 

The Maximum Is Usually Unattainable. — You can make 
a long list of induction steps. Then you can break down 
your organization by departments and write under each the 
induction steps, giving maximum information and training 
for it. Unless you have maximum equipment and personnel 
and also plenty of time, you will not be able to carry out 
such a program. The maximum is the ideal, but as in so 
many other aspects of personnel w T ork, what is practical for 
you to do will probably fall short of the ideal. You are thus 
faced with the problem of making the best possible choices. 
You can only hope that those things you cannot do will be 
absorbed on the job by some process of office or industrial 

Probably an induction program of a large retail store 
makes more demands upon a personnel department than 
does that of any other type of business organization. The 
reason is in the nature of the work performed. The em- 
ployee has so many operations where he can make a choice 
of two or three or more possible decisions. He must be 
trained to make the right choice, the one the company's ex- 
perience dictates. Parts of the training are routine, learning 
stock, handling cash, writing sales slips, and such. The diffi- 
cult part is the training in customer-employee relations. It 
is here that the store makes a profit or takes a loss. This 
training is as stiff a course in salesmanship as the new em- 
ployee can take in the time that can be devoted to it. 

Halfway through the training course you may find that 
the new employee is better fatted to work in some other de- 


partment than the one you designated during the hiring 
interview. What to do? If you can, switch him to the de- 
partment for which he is better suited. You are lucky if you 
can; otherwise, you are on a spot. You have two choices: 
you can tell the man the personnel department has made a 
mistake and let him go, or you can send him to the depart- 
ment first stipulated and hope for the best. I know which 
choice you will usually make. 

Some Typical Induction Steps. — No doubt you will be 
able to add a number of induction steps to those to be men- 
tioned here. I place first in point of time the geographical 
awareness to be imparted. That means a trip through the 
store, factory, or plant. I know. You are saying, "Why take 
an experienced spring maker through the plant?" Well, I 
would take him on tour with a group of new employees be- 
cause he is a human being whose interest and enthusiasm 
you are buying, and you must buy these emotional factors 
with more than money. 

When I was of high-school age, it was my job before school 
to lead the family cow to a vacant lot and stake her out. 
Old Lucy grazed all day within a circle of about a forty-foot 
radius. About five or six o'clock I led her back to the barn. 
If you go into an organization where the policy has been to 
regard employees as so many bovines, you can make a good 
beginning by treating them as intelligent human beings. 
They are not to be brought from the barn and tethered to a 
desk or bench and at the end of the day released to go back 
to the barn. It is always a satisfaction to me to hear that 
the Old Lucys, male and female, rebel against being treated 
that way. I thank God they have the grit to rebel. 

When a company has regular tours through its plant for 
visitors, a group of new employees can be sent on one of 
these regular trips. However, it is better to have a special, 
closed trip for employees. Then additional or different de- 
partments may be covered that are important for new em- 
ployees to know. Special talks in the nature of policy in- 
doctrination and "backstage" orientation can be given. 


A complement to the store or plant tour is the company 
handbook. In it can be the history, the policies, the scheme 
of organization, the personnel aids and services, and the rules. 

Another step in induction is training for the job, usually 
under personnel direction. It is ordinarily a group activity, 
but it is not economical unless sufficient persons take the 
course to justify the employment of a trainer-teacher. More 
often this is a function of the personnel department of a 
large store, but it is also necessary in an industrial plant 
where there is a large turnover or rapid expansion. 

If you find it practical to initiate a training course, your 
first concern is the selection of a teacher. You may by great 
good fortune find in store or plant a top-notch producer who 
can make a top-notch teacher. Such a person is "a natural." 
If you cannot find such a person — more likely if you find him, 
you cannot get him released to you to give stated training 
courses — then it is best to find someone who has the attri- 
butes of a good teacher and put him through the depart- 
ments or operations to be taught. If your budget will stand 
adding such a teacher to your staff, by all means do so. 

So far the induction steps outlined have been those for 
that period between the hiring and the appearance of the 
new employee "on the job." This first appearance is too 
often haphazard. The reasons for a careless introduction 
are understandable but not excusable. 

Decentralized hiring may be one reason. The personnel 
department may do only a fine-screening job, sending two or 
three or four applicants to the executive requisitioning a new 
employee. (Maybe sending three or four is not fine screen- 
ing, but let it pass.) The person chosen may be put right 
to work. "That is your desk right there and Miss Fawcett 
will explain the work to you." Or "Oh. John, come over and 
meet our new lathe hand." And bang! goes all your per- 
sonnel introduction-to-the-job planning. Abrupt. Chilling. 

Lack of enough staff assistants in the personnel depart- 
ment may be another reason why proper introduction to the 
job is impossible. There just are not enough persons quali- 


fled and with time enough to take all new employees to their 
locations and make the gracious introduction and watch the 
installation with the eyes of a chief of protocol. 

In discussing the hiring interview it was brought out that 
once decision to hire had been made and the offer of employ- 
ment accepted the interviewer was to acquaint the successful 
applicant with store and plant policy and such other data as 
were to be communicated orally as the first step in induction. 
This is recalled here to tie in with the introduction to the 
working milieu. The interviewer is the one best qualified to 
take the new employee to his department and then get him 
started. So far, this interviewer represents the company to 
the newcomer. He has established a pleasant relationship. 
He has the confidence of the stranger. There is what you 
might call a "gregarious bond" established. This feeling 
cannot help being cooled somewhat if, in place of the inter- 
viewer, a messenger or even another interviewer goes to make 
the introduction. 

Where the worker must go to his new department head or 
foreman carrying a note or a printed form as an introduc- 
tion, it is the duty of the personnel director to have schooled 
the department head or foreman on how to handle the new 
man during their first meeting. It is your duty, but try to 
do it. Frankly, you had better not try — directly. The more 
a boss needs to be schooled, the less he will take from a per- 
sonnel director. The only way to get this done is to sell top 
management that there should be a company routine estab- 
lished for induction, and then see that everyone in a posi- 
tion of authority is acquainted with it. This routine of 
friendliness should have the cachet of the president or man- 
aging vice-president. After that, all you can do is keep your 
ear to the ground and nudge top management when you have 
good reason to believe this or that boss is sloughing off his 
good company manners. 

The Sponsor on the Job. — Once you get the new employee 
to the job, your responsibility ends if you deliver him trained 
according to the standards which have been set up. There is. 


however, a carry-over responsibility. Many companies rec- 
ognize this by a system of sponsorship for the new employee 
while he is getting settled in his work and his surroundings. 
This is an excellent system, and sponsors properly can be re- 
garded as personnel department representatives. 

A sponsor is a worker in any division of an organization 
whose duty it is to welcome a new employee and to see that 
he is made acquainted with his fellow workers, his position 
in the department, and the aids for his efficient production or 
service. Also, he keeps continuing watch on his ward. As 
you may have surmised, the sponsor system pays highest re- 
turns in efficient integration where the demands upon the 
workers are multiform and variously exacting. It flowers in 
a large retail store. 

A sponsor should be given basic training in his specialized 
duties. In fact, there should be periodic meetings of spon- 
sors from all departments. These meetings serve as refresher 
courses. They are used, too, for the introduction of new 
ideas in line with advancing company policy. Listening to 
panel discussions, a shrewd personnel director can mark a 
man or woman whom he may wish to add to his own staff. 

A sponsor occupies a position of responsibility and should 
be paid accordingly. This compensation for the time de- 
voted solely to training and intimate supervision should ex- 
ceed the hourly wage or the possible average salary and 
commission that would be earned without sponsorship. This 
increase is deserved. In itself it is a recognition of status, a 
subject brought up at the opening of this chapter. 

Where there is no sponsor system and the general intro- 
duction and welcoming cannot be left to the head of the de- 
partment or the foreman, there should be someone regularly 
delegated to make the new employee feel at home for the 
first two or three days. No one feels so much like a little 
lost lamb that's gone astray as a new employee set down in 
strange surroundings and then ignored. It happens too 

Where there is no department sponsor, you walk through 


the department yourself, or have your interviewer go 
through, and give a word or two of recognition to the new 
employee. He will appreciate it. The same casual meeting 
at the end of the week and again a week later is also valuable. 
These meetings are more than friendly recognition. They 
give the new employee a chance to tell how he is getting on, 
how he likes his job, perhaps how he may be disappointed 
in this or that, or how he can do a better job if he has one or 
another added facility. In other words, two friends are 
chatting. That is a fine thing from a personnel director's 
point of view. Thus from the start he is building in the new 
employee pride in the job, pride in the company. 



Where the employee has serious difficulty with the job it- 
self, you may expect it to come to the surface in such form 
that his supervisor or foreman is the first to know about it. 
In all likelihood this deviation, if only a minor crisis, does 
not become a matter for personnel department considera- 
tion. Since it has to do with the work, it is handled across 
the counter, at the bench, or in the office of the section or the 

There are a number of employee troubles which do not 
originate on the job, yet they so affect the worker that the 
quality or the quantity of his output suffers. Hence these 
troubles are a concern to management. Being human-rela- 
tion difficulties they are in the province of the personnel de- 
partment. I call them the extracurricular troubles of em- 

You now have the new employee on the job. Even before 
time for a job review, what can happen to him that will bring 
him within the scope of personnel department activities? 
You will be surprised. The major stupidities of minor peo- 
ple take up a great deal of the time of a conscientious per- 
sonnel director. These troubles come usually under one or 
another of three general headings : familv, money, love — sa- 
cred or profane. More often profane — very profane. Too 
often you can list a problem under all three headings. They 
are the toughest. 

First of all, I think I should give you sound general advice 
on counseling. It seems sound to me. You are going to talk 
to men and women, young and old, who are caught in some 



web they think is too strong for them to break without help. 
They turn to you for that help. Now here is the first rule of 
my counseling. If you do not have the training of a social 
worker, a case worker, it is almost unalterable, unbreakable. 
The rule is : Do not tell an employee what to do. 

What you do in a serious discussion of a personal problem 
is to help the employee bring out into the sunlight all its 
facets. You hope that from one of them will flash back the 
answer. Sometimes this getting at fundamental facts means 
a lot of digging. If you are careful and thorough, your spade 
work may turn up something valuable. However, the neo- 
phyte personnel director, being unacquainted with psycho- 
logical techniques, should not let curiosity or ambition lure 
him to try to do a good job beyond the limit of his counseling 

If you can, bring out all the facts in the case by deft, un- 
obtrusive questions calculated to stimulate the employee to 
a complete revelation (if the case is grave enough for thor- 
oughgoing consideration). Then what? You may know 
the answer, but it is not for you to give it. Let me repeat. 
Here is your first rule repeated, restated : even if you know 
the facts as a case worker knows them, do not tell an em- 
ployee what to do. 

The person in trouble must make his own decisions. All 
you can do is to make plain what paths lie ahead, what may 
be the consequences of pursuing one rather than another. 
Plain facts. No argument. No persuasion. From the stand- 
point of counseling, Samuel Butler succinctly stated the rea- 
son three hundred years ago : 

He that complies against his will 
Is of his own opinion still. 

The friendly attitude prescribed for hiring interviews is 
even more necessary when talking to one of your own em- 
ployees who needs help. Remember that grown people do 
not relish being treated like children. Never appear to have 
a "papa knows best" manner. Nothing alienates so quickly 


as a stuffed-shirt, godlike attitude. But as Hamlet warned 
the players and Polonius warned Laertes, you cannot swing 
to the other extreme. In this case you cannot allow yourself 
to appear to be on the same level, or you have no influence. 
The appeal to you has been made to greater insight, greater 
experience, better judgment. 

You point to the proper path. Later you learn that the 
employee did not take it. Do not get angry. In one or two 
interviews you cannot expect to discharge a high emotional 
content which has become a fixation. 

Setting the Stage and the Frame of Mind. — This book is 
not written for those big organizations that employ coun- 
selors who work as a separate division of the personnel de- 
partment. It is written for the new personnel director who 
is undoubtedly going to be the chief and, mayhap, the only 
counselor. If he has a competent assistant who can do this 
work — and it is work, conscientious work — he should at least 
keep it as one of his own activities until he has learned all 
he can by doing. Thus he is not asking an assistant to do 
work he does not himself understand. 

From some of these counseling talks may come ideas that 
can be passed on to management. Ideas for personnel bet- 
terments. The office or plant reacts on the home, and the 
home reacts on the office or plant. It is interviews such as 
these that will probably give you greater satisfaction (if you 
find that you are being helpful) than if you were personnel 
director of a far larger concern and removed from the inti- 
mate contact. You are having what you would like your Big- 
Boss to have — that personal relationship of confidence with 
an employee which makes for status, security, and loyalty. 

I warn you that you will have interviews with screwballs 
who just wish to talk. Discourage their coming to you, pa- 
tiently but firmly. You can do nothing constructive for 
them and they take up time. Sometimes I say, "All this is 
very interesting. I think there should be a record of it. Now 
you write it all out, and I shall put it in your folder so that it 
will be available for future reference.", i ,,:•" 


Usually this technique is for an imaginary grievance, but 
sometimes I can use it for an outside difficulty where a state- 
ment of a situation may need a reference date. 

Do not read a book and set yourself up as a psychiatrist. 
It is true that a person with common sense, good judgment, 
and an informed social service attitude may do a fair job of 
individual adjustment through counseling, but the tougher 
cases take more time and skill than can be expected of a per- 
sonnel director or a counselor. If an employee has to have a 
series of psychoanalytical "seances" in order to make him 
competent to do his work, in all probability it is cheaper and 
better to let him go and hire someone else. Of course, if 
he has been with you a long, long time, that is something 

Once I was in a city at the season of the year when furriers 
were advertising heavily. I compared advertisements and 
said to a man in the know, "That firm cannot sell satisfac- 
tory coats at the prices advertised." 

"It doesn't," he admitted. 

"Then what does it do when a customer comes back to 
complain that the coat was not giving the service expected? 
I would go in and yell all over the store." 

"Ah ! The firm has a 'crying room,' " was the explanation. 
"Immediately a customer cries that she has been gypped, 
members of the staff have been trained to usher her into the 
'crying room.' This is so that prospective customers on the 
floor will not have their confidence shaken by hearing a 
woman go into hysterics." 

This true story has no moral here. It merely introduces 
you to the "crying room." Have one. Only when a woman 
is shut away where there are no prying eyes should she be 
allowed to tell a story that has an emotional content. 

Occasionally a youngster at my desk gets excited or scared 
and a burst of tears results. I am ready for her. I reach into 
a drawer and pull out a facial tissue and offer it solicitously. 
At the same time I insist lightly that the trouble can't be as 
serious as all that. It isn't. Once I can coax a smile, the 


storm is over. All that is left to show for it is a damp ball of 
paper in my wastebasket. 

The Family Gets Tied in Knots. — About the toughest 
social organism in the world is the family. If it were not, it' 
would have been liquidated millenniums ago and we would 
now be hunting in packs, a degenerate horde trying to grow 
tails the better to compete with our simian cousins. When 
you consider all the family has to contend with, the progress 
it has made in twenty thousand years is phenomenal. Yet it 
has still a long way to go before a personnel director can bow 
out of the picture. You will learn that the family takes a 
greater beating from its own members than it does from the 
slings and arrows originating outside the home. 

Sometimes when I listen to family stories, I am aghast at 
the depravity of the human race. More often — and this is 
the truth — I am absolutely amazed at the nobility and cour- 
age of the persons who tell me their family stories. Oh. the 
brave, brave people there are in the world ! 

Matters of health impose many of the problems. Here we 
are not only concerned with the family as a supposedly self- 
governing unit, but very often we are concerned with money 
too. The sudden operation that may be needed, the final 
mental breakdown which demands outside treatment — 
these really require more skilled advice and attention than a 
personnel director should be expected to give. At least he 
can and should be the sensitive and sympathetic nerve cen- 
ter for the transmission to some well-equipped agency of the 
request for help an employee may make. 

It will take you a little time to learn the sources of infor- 
mation and the places an employee can be sent for help of 
one kind or another. It is always best for you to telephone 
the agency to discuss the case with someone in authority and 
then make a definite appointment for an interview. Among 
the sources you will surely use are the American Red Cross 
(for a veteran), the Information Service of your Associated 
Charities, your Legal Aid Society, and naturally your own 


medical department with its hospital connections. The 
smaller your city, the fewer the opportunities to refer em- 
ployees to established social agencies. In some places such 
agencies just do not exist. 

Sometimes an anguished mother will appear to tell you 
how her daughter wishes to leave home to live in an apart- 
ment with another girl. That is often the clash of the older 
generation with the younger. In larger cities much of it is 
also the clash of Old World ideals of the parent with New 
World ideals of the child. When I talk to the girl I never 
have probed anything that seemed illicit about her desire to 
lead her own life. Iron bars do not a prison make, but cer- 
tainly some strait-laced homes do. 

In this age of liberty for the young there yet remain many 
homes where there is no liberty. And at the other extreme 
there are the homes where neither parent seems to care what 
happens. It is too bad that some parents do not know how 
to manage children and some children do not know how to 
treat parents, but the situations certainly make for fast foot- 
work for any referee in the ring with the interested parties. 
That is all a personnel director is, a referee — and he cannot 
make a single decision. 

Women after alimony defaulters may try to turn you into 
a collection agency. If you hear only one side and believe 
it, you will burn with indignation. Sometimes you burn with 
indignation when you hear both sides. Ladies appeal to me 
by letter and in person. The rent is unpaid. The children 
are starving. So I arrange for the "offender" to come up to 
see me, or I saunter through his department and see him. 

"That woman is nuts," says the employee. "Her old man 
has money. She's living at home and the kids are well fed 
and going to school." Maybe so. 

What to do? Moral suasion. "Well, Bill, after all, they're 
your children. A broken home is tough on them, and when 
they are grown you will want them to feel that part of their 
upbringing they owe to you, that you contributed toward 


their happiness and welfare despite what their mother may 
have done to you." 

Sometimes it works. But this should be a no-decision bout 
as far as you are concerned. It is not properly an affair of 
the personnel department. A man's life outside his hours of 
employment is his own. It is none of your business until 
his output is affected for the worse. The same goes for those 
cases where the drab wife comes to complain that her hus- 
band has taken unto himself a mistress. 

One morning I reached my office a little after nine, and 
there, walking restlessly up and down, was one of our high- 
salaried employees. I did not have my hat off before he 
burst out breathlessly, "I woke up in the night ! Yes. I woke 
up in the night and suddenly thought of it ! I couldn't get 
here quick enough ! " 

"Well, you're here now," I said. "What can I do for you?" 

"I suddenly remembered it ! It would have been awful ! " 
All exclamation points. 

"What would have been awful?" 

"If I had died ! I've recently been divorced and married 
again. I suddenly woke up last night and remembered that 
I haven't changed the beneficiary of my group life insurance 
policy. If I had died, my first wife would have got my in- 

I gave him the change-of-beneficiary forms and he filled 
them out with a sigh of relief. Now he could die in peace. 

The variations of family turmoil are infinite. Stay out of 
family trouble as much as you can. 

Money, the Root of Some Evil. — Saint Paul laid it on a 
little thick when he said that the love of money is the root 
of all evil. He took in too much territory. Any seasoned 
personnel director knows a lot of evils that do not stem from 
the love of money. Some of them stem from love — of one 
kind or another. There are variations of Saint Paul's dictum 
which are truisms. The longing for easy money is the root 
of some evil. The desperate need for money is another root 
of some evil. 


No matter how high the average intelligence of a large 
group of employees, not all of them are able to avoid money 
difficulties. It is not necessarily a matter of intelligence. 
The most intelligent may not have a backlog sufficient to 
meet a sudden, legitimate financial emergency. Usually it is 
money for hospital expenses or for a funeral. Sometimes it 
is a housing problem; for instance, where an employee can 
get a suitable home, only by making an initial down pay- 
ment beyond his own unaided resources. 

I have spoken of a high average of intelligence. That sup- 
poses some higher than the average to balance some below. 
For the most part it is those below who cause themselves, 
their families, and their personnel director money troubles. 

Perhaps the "average" to which I have referred is not a 
low Intelligence Quotient average but a low Thrift Quotient 
average, because some of those you would call intelligent 
persons get themselves into the worst financial scrapes im- 
aginable. Some employees are weak. Some are careless. 
And some are just plain scalawags. 

Our Old Friend, the Loan Shark. — I # now call down a 
malediction upon the most despicable breed of all that prey 
on the frailties and the needs of human beings. There are as 
many kinds of loan sharks as there are kinds of snakes and 
scorpions, all bad. They range all the way from the gangster 
who beats up the poor borrower who defaults on his pay- 
ments of 10 per cent interest per week to the cheating install- 
ment house which gets full price for its shoddy furniture in 
the first payment and racks the victim for an unconscionable 
sum in addition. They could not exist if they did not batten 
on simpletons and on those in desperate need. 

Sometimes you can frighten them with threats of court 
proceedings. Never have I known one to take off pressure 
by an appeal to kindly feeling. They know all the legal 
tricks of subterfuge and evasion. They never give the bor- 
rower or purchaser a piece of paper as indicia of debt that 
reveals the true transaction. Try to analyze a loan or pur- 
chase and you find yourself lost in a maze of investigation 


fees, delivery charges, insurance premiums, and other horn- 
swoggling devices for confusion and extraction of the last 
drop of blood from the turnip. 

The victims seem powerless to help themselves. Some are 
fearful of dire consequences. Others have the mentality of 
children. All of them come too late to the personnel depart- 
ment to get the advice that would save them. About all you 
can do is to get the debt transferred to some less nefarious 
lender. But even there you must be wary on behalf of your 
employee, because there are groups of loan sharks who pass 
the victim from one to another. 

The Small Loan Companies Get It Legally. — Xearly three 
fourths of the states have small-loan statutes which place 
lending companies under the state's Department of Banking. 
Consult your legal department to see if your state offers the 
protection of the small-loan laws or runs high, wide, and 
handsome for the benefit of conscienceless loan sharks who 
can double their capital annually. 

The small-loan law covers borrowing of S300 or less. It 
sets the rate of interest to be charged where the transaction 
is not one that a bank would handle commercially. The law 
gives borrowers the advantage of publicity and competition 
in addition to exercising supervision. Rates are stable and 
amortization is demanded. The borrower must be given 
proper statements, copies of instruments he signs, and re- 
ceipts for payments made. Rates of interest and obligatory 
payments must be publicized. 

For well-run small-loan companies I have a grudging re- 
spect. Perhaps I never wax enthusiastic because they get an 
interest return ranging from 24 to 36 per cent per annum. 
The proponents of these companies say that their cost of do- 
ing business is high, that their losses are heavy. I can be- 
lieve it, but even 24 per cent seems too much for me. The 
delightfully impetuous and uninhibited Fiorello H. La 
Guardia, in a radio talk when mayor of New York, called the 
2%-per-cent-a-month boys "swine." Who am I to disagree 
with New York's Little Flower? 


What will surprise you is the number of employees who 
are either paying tribute to illegal loan sharks or borrowing 
from the small-loan companies. It is true that wartime 
wages and wartime restrictions on consumer credit reduced 
the figures on borrowing, but return to normalcy will un- 
doubtedly see small loans recorded in astronomical figures 
once the war bonds have been cashed and spent. 

The report of the Superintendent of Banks for the State 
of New York shows that during a recent year the monthly 
rate of charge actually collected was 2.19 per cent. 

While my mentality is a commercial banking one, I see 
the good points of the regulated loan companies. In my own 
experience I know of many instances where my intercession 
has tempered the wind to the lamb being shorn. I have had 
loans refinanced in order to reduce the amount to be paid 
monthly. I criticize some of them for making loans which 
a more thorough investigation would show to be unsound, 
but I recognize the pressure on them to keep their capital at 

If you live in a state where there is no uniform small-loan 
law, I think you will be doing your employees a service to 
use your influence to get it enacted by your legislature. I 
warn you that you will find a well-heeled, insidious, vicious 
lobby opposing you. Unless your Big Boss is a "fraidy cat" 
(or worse) and calls you off, you are in for a fine brawl. 
Good luck to you. 

Every so often you may discover that one of your own 
employees is a small-time loan shark, leeching his fellow 
workers. When you do, you may be able to remove him from 
the pay roll by fiat of the Big Boss. A man may be so well 
protected by union rights that you cannot touch him. Then 
all you can do is pray that something heavy will fall off the 
roof on him. 

What always surprises me is the employee who says, "Yes, 
I know I am being gouged; but I got the $25 just when I 
wanted it last Monday night, and I am quite willing to pay 
$30 next Saturday night to close out the debt." If you talk 


to him in terms of 20 per cent a week, he just does not under- 
stand you. All he knows is that he was willing to pay So for 
the use of $25 a few days before pay day. You have no right 
to get a single gray hair worrying about that employee. 

The Shark Repossessors. — What junk some installment 
houses sell ! And after they repossess the second- or third- 
hand jalopy or the tin refrigerator or the Chamber of Hor- 
rors furniture, they get a deficiency judgment and the sucker 
— your employee — has to pay and pay and pay. For nothing. 

When it comes to some installment houses, I prefer the 
Roman code to the Anglo-Saxon. Each one is guilty until he 
proves his installment house innocent. Some of the snide 
ones have runners who stand outside your plant and sing a 
siren song: good goods, nothing down, and only a pittance to 
pay each week. Only it just does not work out that way. A 
three-jeweled watch is supposed to have seventeen jewels. 
Later let the buyer try to find the seventeen jewels in the 
watch or in the guarantee. He can't. But he goes on paying 
installments just the same, or he has his salary or wages 
garnished. Whenever you can, point out to employees the 
difference between installment houses of integrity and those 
which are traps for the ignorant and unwary. 

I do not know how a personnel director can protect all his 
employees against their own ignorance. He cannot engage 
in a one-man crusade. He would have time for nothing else. 
All he can do is get them out of jams — when he can. 

One time one of our men came to me with the story of a 
man who had come in night after night and built up a friend- 
ship before he broke the news that because he was down on 
his luck he was selling made- to-order suits on a time-pay- 
ment basis as a side- line. Mr. Victim said he was in the 
market for a suit and obliged by selecting a pattern, being 
measured, and signing a contract. He never saw his new 
"friend" after that, 

In due season the installment house sent word for him to 
take delivery of the garment, He called and found it impos- 
sible both as to fit and quality. He went for a second fitting, 


and it was still impossible. He refused to take it. When a 
lawsuit was threatened, he came to me. He had no copy of 
the contract. It looked like a hopeless case to me. Mr. Vic- 
tim asked me to look at the suit with him. I knew the gyp 
firm by reputation and requisitioned an ex-prize fighter from 
the plant to go along with me. The manager of the em- 
porium was very much upstage when he beheld the embassy 
waiting upon him. The suit had been made to order (yes, 
it had) and it was to be paid for, delivery or no delivery. 
The cohorts lined up on either side. 

"Let me paste this guy," whispered my colleague. 

a No. Let's have the suit tried on." 

Mr. Victim was assisted into the coat. The fit was terri- 
ble even when a salesman grabbed a handful of it in the back 
to try to make the front presentable. 

"That's the suit," said the manager. "He takes it. See? 
He signed a contract. See?" 

My prize fighter tugged at my sleeve. I shook my head. 

"All right, there's a contract," I admitted. "Let me see it." 

A girl brought the printed document from the office safe. 
My heart sank as I unfolded it. The same old story was be- 
ing enacted. The hooked fish. Something was written in 
longhand in the margin. I read it. We were saved! When 
signing the contract, Mr. Victim had written in, "This suit 
must fit to my satisfaction." Smart? You bet. 

There was only a halfhearted argument after that. On 
the way to the street car all my Marquis of Queensbury friend 
said was, "You should have let me paste him." 

Not much of a story maybe, but I like it because it is the 
only one I know in which the fall guy gypped the gyp. 

How I Hate My Dead Beats. — Where you ride herd on 
one or two thousand employees you cannot help having a 
few out-and-out dead beats. How I hate them ! 

A poor grocer comes in and tells you that he gave credit 
to a new man in the neighborhood on the strength of his 
having a steady job with you. Now he refuses to pay the 
$20 bill he has run up. You drop by to see the man and he 


says, "Sure, I got the groceries. If he wants his money, he 
knows how he can get it." Looks you right in the eye and 
says it. 

"He knows how he can get it" you find out means "He can 
get a judgment and line up behind the ten other liens against 
me." All you can do is to tell the grocer that he might as 
well write the account off. And we have abolished the whip- 
ping post in penal institutions ! The bastinado is not pun- 
ishment enough for such a whelp. 

Then there is the man who rents a room in a private house 
and keeps telling the widow hard-luck stories instead of pay- 
ing his rent. One day she finds him gone. In she comes and 
you listen to her appeal for help. The man is a no-good guy. 
You are not a lawyer or a collection agency. When the man 
is just a dead beat, you will not have much luck with him. 
I have known them to go on for years. If you can have him 
sacked for some business reason, fine. More power to you. 

Whenever the dead beats learn that a new loan company 
has opened for business, they beat a path to the door to buy 
some better mouse traps. If the new company is not too 
curious about credit, in about four weeks it will learn to its 
sorrow that a lot of its money is caught in its own mouse trap. 
Even an organization of one thousand employees is liable to 
have a dead-beat ring. Every member is proof against im- 
mediate collection of any debt he may contract. When one 
borrows on a personal note, he can easily get others of the 
ring to sign as comakers. The loan company has been igno- 
rant or it has taken a chance. The result is the same: a 
frozen loan until the slow process of law brings the legal 
claim up for collection. 

The time I rise up on my hind legs and howl is when 
a dead beat lures a young employee into going on a note for 
him. Watch out for this, but I don't know how you can 
save the first innocent. In all likelihood you cannot, but you 
publicize the first loss by grapevine and maybe you save 
other youths in the department who might fall for a hard- 
luck story. 


There is no fun in dealing with dead beats, or with semi- 
dead beats, but you may get a certain amount of satisfac- 
tion in making the latter toe the mark. 

The Errant Semi-dead Beat. — Larger than the group of 
dead beats is the group of semi-dead beats. They are not so 
professional or implacable as the dead beats. They have 
some peculiar mental quirk that makes them endeavor to 
dodge or bolt a certain bill or obligation. 

In this category is the man who makes a good salary but 
who refuses to contribute for the payment of the keep of a 
wife in a state institution for mental cases. I have a little 
more sympathy for this dodger than I have for the man who 
tries to avoid a bill rendered by a city hospital for his own 
care or that of a member of his family. 

Whenever a municipal, county, or state institution asks 
for information or help in collecting a bill, I hold it is your 
duty to do all you can. Certainly you must give the infor- 
mation requested. 

Then there is the man who subconsciously wants to wig- 
gle out of a bill by nursing a grudge against the gas or electric 
company or some other big corporation. Something went 
wrong — the service, the bill, an unpleasant collector, an al- 
legedly defective range or refrigerator, anything. The em- 
ployee can't win because the company can put a padlock on 
the meter or repossess the appliance. 

Usually you are told about such a case just as the jaws 
of the padlock are closing. With the employee at your desk 
you telephone the man who handles the account for the 
company. I have always found these representatives of big 
business, especially the public service corporations, courte- 
ous and eager to work out some plan that will keep the range 
burning or the refrigerator chilling. 

With your employee beside you it is not good technique 
to say, "I may have what you would call a semi-dead beat 
here with me. From what he tells me I think your position 
is perfectly reasonable and just. He is here bellyaching. If 
you say so I shall throw him out." No. Your job is to put 


on an act that will send your employee back to his lathe or 
bottling machine a happier worker and, therefore, a better 

After a few kind words for the fairness and magnanimity 
of the great corporation, which so often has shown you that 
it has a soul, you get right down to the case of the much- 
aggrieved Mr. Artisan, who is sitting beside you. 

You state the case. You will usually find the man at the 
end of the telephone wire is one jump ahead of you. He 
can quote chapter and verse on your employee. And if you 
can make out anything of a plausible story, he will see eye 
to eye with you and give your man a chance. That has been 
my experience. 

This frankness and fairness may make the employee real- 
ize that he has been stubborn and grasping. He is shamed 
into making more of a payment or making less of a claim. 

Information about Personal Matters. — All day long there 
will come to your department telephone calls, letters, and 
inquirers in person asking a myriad questions about em- 
ployees. Some questions are pertinent ; some, impertinent ; 
all, time taking. Members of your department must have 
thorough knowledge of what can be told and what cannot. 

What can you tell? That the person in question works 
for you or does not work for you. In the latter case you may 
tell the last day of employment. You may also tell how 
long the employee has been in your service, what depart- 
ment he is in, and his employment group. You may verify 
his home address, but you may not give it without authoriza- 
tion except to a properly accredited government representa- 
tive. What more information you give will depend on what 
ruling you get from your legal department. Management, 
too, may say what it wishes given out, but no doubt man- 
agement will be guided by its high-priced legal lights. 

What an employee sells management is a certain skill and 
so many hours of time in which that skill is used. We can 
hope that he contributes also his loyalty and his interest. 


but these two do not affect the situation. He sells so many 
hours. But he does not put his private life or any part of it 
in the keeping of his employer. Therefore, without the em- 
ployee's authorization the employer has no right to reveal 
anything that he or any of his agencies may have learned or 
the wages or salary which will have been arrived at by a real 
or implicit contract. . You will probably find that this is the 
ruling of your legal department as well as the contention of 
the unions with which you have contracts. Despite the fact 
that here we have a shield for the dead beats and tricky 
evaders, I believe this is sound procedure. 

What things should you not tell without the employee's 
authorization? First of all, his earnings. Second, his home 
address. Third, whether there are liens, garnishees, or wage 
assignments lodged against him, the number of them, and 
the sum still to be withheld. You will have few inquiries 
that do not come under one of these headings. These calls 
come, in the main, from loan companies, creditors, collection 
agencies, and lawyers. 

In order to give this information you must write the em- 
ployee asking permission. Oral replies are not sufficient. 
The man must give you permission in writing and sign and 
date the authorization. Then you are protected. Usually 
he is eager to do this when he is negotiating a loan or getting 
installment merchandise. Too often you do not get a reply 
to your request when he has defaulted on his note. Then 
all you can do, after waiting a reasonable time, is to inform 
the inquirer that you have not been authorized to give any 

On the other hand, the minute a suit has been filed, a hear- 
ing before a referee in bankruptcy has been scheduled, or a 
judgment has been rendered, you are under obligation to 
give the information. An order to give it can be sustained. 
You can save having your company's book subpoenaed and 
losing the time of an employee who must identify them and 
testify to their pertinent contents at the hearing by asking 


the attorney for the plaintiff to serve you with a subpoena 
"without need to appear." That saves you from having to 
take a taxicab full of records to the trial or hearing. 

Not being the keeper of your conscience, I cannot advise 
you as to the times when you may break your rules. Cer- 
tainly you will be tempted occasionally. But I warn you 
that if you are tempted to give a dead beat's home address 
and you fall, you will undoubtedly find that the address you 
give is a cold one. Dead beats who have a professional stand- 
ing just do not give personnel departments their right ad- 
dresses. The moral is that you should not fall because your 
error does not shut off a home run by the offender. 

Why Not a Credit Union? — I do not know am T reason why 
you should not encourage a credit union among your 
employees. Investigate the Federal Credit Union Act. A 
credit union provides a means of saving for the small in- 
vestor, and for a fellow worker it provides a safe source for 
a personal loan. It is best that there be a spontaneous de- 
mand for a union. This should come from responsible em- 
ployees able and willing to act as directors and to assume 
supervision. I am never a believer in a personnel director 
initiating any service for employees. They should initiate 
and carry on. By all means give advice and help, but do not 
go in for any bloody paternalism. 

As a rule, the credit union sells membership shares for 85 
each. Certificates of membership are issued. From the fund 
thus subscribed small loans are made on the strength of the 
character of the borrowing employee, his ability to repay the 
loan, and his real need for the money. 

Building and Loan Companies. — Time was when forward- 
looking businessmen supervised building and loan com- 
panies for the benefit of their employees in order that they 
might buy or build homes. This was looked on as good busi- 
ness practice. It made for stability of employment and no 
doubt paid dividends to management in loyalty and good 
will. The investors among employees got a good rate of in- 
terest on their shares. 


All this has been changed by the entrance into the field of 
organizations backed by government agencies. The financ- 
ing these agencies now make available has so many advan- 
tages over the rates and terms a company's building and loan 
company can offer that' the latter is leaving the field where 
it cannot compete at a profit. So do not lend any moral sup- 
port to a project which cannot buck a government-supported 
organization successfully. 

Getting Loans from Management. — There are times when 
a good employee needs a large sum of money and he needs 
it right now. It may be a bigger sum than the $300 to which 
a personal loan company limits its loans. It may be needed 
in more of a hurry than it can be turned out by a loan com- 
pany. Perhaps the employee cannot command collateral or 
a comaker. Then there is only one recourse — to manage- 

It is regarded as correct procedure for the employee to 
make his request to management through the head of his de- 
partment. That is all right if the department head passes 
the request up the line. The theory is that this executive is 
a judge of whether or not the employee is worthy. I do not 
like leaving the request entirely to the department head 
because I do not like to give him a pocket veto. 

I think every request for a loan (except from the known 
scalawags) should go to management. The employee should 
know that he can refer his request through his department 
head or the personnel director. In the latter case the per- 
sonnel director should discuss the loan with the employee 
and get all the facts. He should then consult the head of the 
department to see if he thinks the man's record justifies fa- 
vorable consideration. In the case of the tainted (not abso- 
lutely bad) eggs, the interview with the executive usually 
ends in some such final words as these: "I would not lend 
that so-and-so a red cent, but I will not stand in the way 
of his getting a loan if you can get it from management for 

That neutral attitude puts a big responsibility on you. 


You have to be sure. So you should recommend that the 
loan be made only to an employee who has been a long time 
with the company. The short-time employee has no hold. A 
stipulation regarding repayment must be signed by the em- 
ployee for the withholding of a specified sum each pay day. 
It is best to have the entire sum repaid within one year. The 
loan is good business, but it is not a business loan. No in- 
terest should be charged. 

Love and Its Aftermath. — One of the most interesting 
extracurricular activities of employees is love, what goes 
with it and what flows from it. It is none of the business 
of the personnel department until sex rears its delightful (or 
ugly) head in such a way as to come officially to your atten- 

The Employee Gets Married. — What interest the mem- 
bers of a department take in the marriage of one of their 
number depends on the length of time they have been to- 
gether and their social integration. Of course the marriage 
of a young man is taken in stride, but a popular young 
woman! She makes a sensation. Enthusiasm rises in a 
crescendo from the secret collection of funds for a gift, 
through the tour of a committee to select it, to the lunch- 
eon at which the bride-to-be is the guest of honor where she 
is showered with individual gifts and, as a climax, receives 
the whole department's masterpiece. 

These quaint tribal customs of the female of the species 
are not actively a concern of the personnel director. Yet if 
he is smart, he will know about them. In a plant the size of 
the one we have in mind, he can. I think he should look in 
on the luncheon if it is held in the company restaurant or 
visit the department after the girls return from their lunch- 
eon outside. He offers his felicitations and looks admiringly 
at the presents the friends have brought. In my time I have 
admired acres of luncheon cloths and crates of salad bowls. 

Some firms have a custom of giving an employee about to 
be married after, say, five years' service a money gift of $25 
or $50. A pleasant custom it is. I like it. Make a little 


ceremony out of it. If you have a gracious Big Boss or gen- 
eral manager, get him to put aside four or five minutes to 
see the candidate for matrimony and say a few pleasant 
words. And see that the check in a nice white envelope is at 
hand for him to pass over. 

When Married Love Turns Sour. — Here is something I 
do not like to talk about. A whole book could be written 
about the ways a personnel director learns that love can 
curdle. You never learn about it until it has reached the 
clabber stage. Then all you can do is to be sorry and try to 
get court orders executed without too much fuss. 

Do not do any arbitrating yourself. That is not your busi- 
ness. Let an investigator for the Domestic Relations Court 
carry the torch. Give every assistance possible as a matter 
of company response to the law. That is all. 

Recently a woman came to say that she was not receiving 
enough money from her husband to live on. He was paying 
a weekly sum to the court. He claimed his time had been 
cut from five to three days a week. He had reduced his pay- 
ment from $25 a week to $10. The wife asked if he was 
getting only three days' work. 

I found that the man had been cut at one time, but for the 
last five weeks had been working full time again. Did I tell 
her? No. I told her to get the court's probation officer to 
come up and make an investigation. On the other hand, if 
the man had been still getting only three days a week, I 
would have confirmed his time. And am I inconsistent here? 
I don't think so. The first involves a change of status; the 
second confirms the known status quo ante. 

What are you going to do when the wife of an employee 
comes to you with^a story that he has gone to live with an- 
other woman? Or maybe is only running around with her. 
Anyway, he is not bringing his money home to his wife and 
the kids. Advise her to go to the Domestic Relations Court 
and lodge her complaint. Be sympathetic, of course, but do 
not play Solomon. 

Speaking of women, I do not think in a small company you 


need a woman counselor attached to your personnel depart- 
ment. For one thing, generally speaking a woman would 
rather come for advice or help to a man than to another 
woman. She seems to have more confidence in a man. This 
is especially true of older women. A woman may not know 
it (this is true of a man too), but often all she wants is to get 
something out of her system. A man is more satisfactory to 
her as a listening post. 

In place of a woman counselor you can very well team up 
with a sympathetic, understanding head nurse, firm but 
kind. Also, there ought to be a mature woman on your staff 
who can listen. She will pass on to you what you need to 

Twice I have told young women — when they have backed 
me into a corner and demanded a "Yes" or a "No" answer — 
twice I have said, "If I were you, I don't think I should 
marry him." They didn't, I was right both times, as each 
girltold me afterward. But just because I have a 100 per 
cent clear record, I don't want to crowd my luck. I hope no 
one ever asks me again. If you can, steer away from having 
to give advice on so vital a subject. I sweat blood over those 
two cases. And I certainly had a lot of gum-shoeing done be- 
fore I ventured an "if I were you" opinion. 

Some Minor Peccadilloes. — Scattered through this book 
will be references to the annoying or amusing minor pecca- 
dilloes of employees. Not many can be listed among extra- 
curricular activities because, being minor, they are not apt 
to come to your attention officially. One you may run across 
is the effort of credulous youths to get something for nothing 
via gambling. They have to learn for themselves, but you 
come into the picture when the professional gamblers are 
getting the money. Yes, I say "Hands off" when employees 
are away from the office or plant, but this case is different. 

A mother or a father will tell you that a son is gambling in 
a professional game. And losing. Parents do well to keep 
an eye on the expenditures of their wage-earning children. 
It is a proper parental function to do so. You cannot expect 


a youngster suddenly come into a regular stipend to exercise 
the economic wisdom that should come with age and experi- 
ence, especially if he comes from a family where spending 
money has been scarce. I think the young should be allowed 
to throw some money away foolishly. That's part of the fun 
of being young. But gambling? No. 

I know of a gambling house that obligingly provided a 
sleek limousine to carry the young men of a company to the 
hall of chance. The invitation was extended by a youth on 
the company's pay roll. Naturally, the automobile was only 
on hand on pay day. Naturally, the young men finally 
reached their homes lighter in purse. When this enticement 
was reported to the company, it took the proper steps to 
stop the practice. This is proper personnel supervision. 

You are liable to get a complaint some day from a near-by 
restaurant that some of your youths are not behaving them- 
selves. Rowdy conduct. That is too bad, but the restaurant 
man must police his own place. It is not your job to do it 
for him. 

You will occasionally find a young man throwing his 
weight around on the outside on the strength of his employ- 
ment by your company. Usually it is a misrepresentation 
for prestige or some personal advantage. If it is so serious 
as to be classed as a racket, he should be fired. If it is not 
really harmful, he should be warned. 

I hope you now appreciate that King Solomon was a tyro 
compared to a personnel director who can successfully take 
on the extracurricular troubles of the employees of his com- 



A personnel director has a number of side shows to run. 
Even in the aggregate they do not approach in importance 
what goes on under the main tent, but they are necessary for 
you to handle. Their direction will give you satisfaction 
and some amusement. They will also give you a great num- 
ber of minor headaches. 

I shall enumerate the list of activities, and you can hope 
that you do not fall heir to all of them or have to establish 
them immediately as temporary or permanent branches of a 
new personnel department. One or two are practically au- 
tonomous, but if they report to you they are your responsi- 
bility. I am not sure that some activities may not be wished 
off on you besides those I mention in this chapter. A primary 
list gives you : restaurant, medical department, athletic ac- 
tivities, cultural activities, and patriotic and benevolent 
drives for money or other contributions. Only the restaurant 
and medical department go on month after month for ever. 
Fortunately for you, nearly all the others are seasonal. 


If you have two thousand employees, your restaurant may 
be big business. What percentage of your employees you get 
as patrons depends on how many popular-priced eating 
places, which serve good food in a sociable atmosphere, there 
are in the neighborhood. Employees expect more of a com- 
pany restaurant than an outside commercial one. Even 
when they are offered more in their own restaurant, many of 
them like to go out to eat. The walk is a brisk refresher; 
they see new faces; they get some of the morning's cobwebs 



swept from their brains. These are the reasons for compe- 

The smaller the company, naturally the smaller the res- 
taurant operation, but only in staff and supplies. The basic 
routine of buying, preparing, and serving is the same. A pri- 
vate dining room for executives brings in a complication 
because you are not here dealing in food, specifically entrees, 
as a mass operation. Linen and china are different and are 
handled differently ; there must be a special staff of kitchen 
and dining-room employees. 

Some companies with large staffs of young women have 
restaurants where free luncheons are given to employees. 
Usually this is limited to those in a certain salary bracket, 
say from the lowest through senior clerks and equivalent 
groups. Where a company gives luncheons, I personally feel 
that it is obligated to give the highest grade service. Where 
one pays for something, one can take it or leave it. But a 
gift ! The giver should not give grudgingly or carelessly. 

When a personnel director has charge of a restaurant, the 
first thing he should do is get the best restaurant man- 
ager he can find, pay him well, and then let him run things. 
He would be a brash personnel director who stepped in at 
the top without experience to run a bank or a bus line or a 
theatrical company. He would be just as brash if he tried to 
run a restaurant. Get a good restaurant man and train him 
to tell you every few days what he is doing. 

You will share with your restaurant manager two head- 
aches: restaurant help and employees' complaints. If you 
make a chart of company turnover, you will find that your 
restaurant gives you the Eiffel Tower peak of all operations. 
Restaurant workers are migratory. In the lower classifica- 
tions no experience is needed. So a dishwasher or a bus boy 
may be an immigrant from a better job that faded, and he 
will be an emigrant from your restaurant just as soon as he 
can get a better job again elsewhere. You may keep a meat 
cook or a baker for years, but most of your lower people in 
the restaurant will march in and out. 


No tips should be allowed in a company cafeteria or dining 
room. If you are in a city, that too makes it difficult for you 
to get skilled waiters or waitresses. Even the higher wages 
you are forced to pay do not compensate a waitress for 
the thrill of the gamble on the amount of tips she will re- 

More employees voice more complaints about more things 
in the restaurant than about alleged unhappy conditions in 
any other department. Some complaints are legitimate. 
Sometimes viands are underdone or overdone. Sometimes a 
portion may be skimped. Sometimes a dish that should 
have been sweet has turned sour. Your restaurant manager 
may or may not be told about it, but you certainly will be. 
I do not think anyone who makes a legitimate complaint 
should be pacified with soft words. You should offer to take 
the matter up with your restaurant manager, but the em- 
ployee must show good faith by going with you for the inter- 
view. Then he can in person receive an immediate adjust- 
ment or an adequate explanation. 

A number of complaints are unjustified. They are for the 
most part due to ignorance, slipshod thinking, or — I well be- 
lieve — downright malice. The ignorant you have to en- 
lighten, the slipshod thinkers you have to set right. As for 
the seemingly malicious slanderers of the restaurant, who 
always refer to it as Ptomaine Hall, all you can do — after 
listening to them a few times — is to tell them to go some- 
where else to eat. 

Do not try to be a "do-gooder" and get this group of em- 
ployees to have luncheon with that group. You will only 
give a lot of people indigestion and make j^ourself unpopular. 
Employees like to be let alone when they eat. Above all, 
never try to sell management the idea that things will be 
just dandy if only the executives will eat at the same tables 
with employees in a sort of "we're all workers together" atti- 
tude. Somebody will write me how wonderfully the jumbled 
meeting and eating of high and low works in his plant. All I 
can answer is, "That may be fine for you, but it certainly is 


not for most." There is no hierarchy more stratified than 
the company dining room. 

I don't get excited when an employee uses an office en- 
velope for a personal communication not on a company 
letterhead. I may even smile when an employee successfully 
scrounges a personal telephone call on a company line. But 
I get perfectly livid when silverware "disappears" from the 
restaurant. Somebody, well, more than several somebodies, 
is taking souvenirs when your inventory shows knives, forks, 
and spoons going out at the rate of fifty or sixty pieces a 
month, to say nothing of the ash trays, salt and pepper 
shakers, and even heavy pewter sugar bowls. 

It is plain thievery, of course, and in the aggregate the 
loss is heavy at the end of a year. Your chart will probably 
show a peak in the late spring when employees are opening 
their summer bungalows at the beach or at the lake. I have 
never known of any employee being caught with the goods. 
What I should like to do would be to stamp all flatware in 
the cafeteria with "Stolen from the Joe Doakes Company." 

But you can catch the occasional youngster who walks by 
the cashier without paying. There are several dodges and 
your restaurant manager knows them. Usually he prefers 
to have you, the personnel director, administer the disci- 
pline. If you take a hand in the matter, be sure you have 
an airtight case. Let the offender get away with his free 
meal a couple of times, with the checker noting the number 
of the ticket she gives him and the amount. The ticket does 
not show up in the cashier's count. The rest is easy. Usu- 
ally a warning is sufficient. 

The restaurant manager may frown, because he is out to 
show a profit or at least to break even for the company, but 
my feeling is that any employee should be allowed to bring 
his own luncheon and eat it in the cafeteria. As you can ex- 
pect him to supplement his meal with something from the 
counter, a dessert, a cup of coffee, or a soft drink, he is not a 
total loss. 

Hours of operation of your restaurant will depend on the 


number of shifts your employees work. If you serve only 
a noon meal, your restaurant naturally will be on a one-shift 
basis. At that I think it is well to have restricted counter 
service from about eight in the morning and continue to 
have someone selling soft drinks, tea, coffee, and the snacks 
that go with them through the day. This accommodation is 
for office workers. If the privilege is not abused, it is a good 
morale constant. For factory workers there should be a 
wagon making the rounds or a stand in a corner where a 
quick drink can be had and maybe a carton of cookies. To- 
bacco of course. It is better to have the wagon or the stand 
run by your restaurant, but you may have to give it to the 
widow of an old employee for sentimental reasons. If you do. 
keep a close eye on the operation. The bad boys get to charg- 
ing things and they never get around to settling their bills. 

Should your restaurant sell beer? By all means — if the 
sale is legal in your state, but in bottles only, for your con- 
venience and to avoid barrel loss on draught beer. 

It will pay you as personnel director to visit the cafeteria 
every day. At the luncheon hour you will see many em- 
ployees whom for one reason or another you will wish to see. 
You are not worth your salt if you are not genuinely inter- 
ested in inquiring about the new baby, the honeymoon, and 
the vacation — well, not of one employee in that order. First 
of all, employees are human. They are interested in them- 
selves. In turn, it is your business to be interested in them 
too. If you are not, go out and get yourself a job making 
cream separators or measuring dress goods, but don't be a 
personnel director. 

If the restaurant manager you pick turns out to be a dud. 
try another. If the second turns out to be no good, then 
probably you are not a good picker or there is an inherent 
weakness in the setup you cannot cure. Maybe the thing to 
do next is to call in a concessionaire. Get a good Greek, sell 
him your restaurant equipment on time, be smart enough to 
write a contract that will guarantee good restaurant service 
at fair prices, and then sit back and watch him make money. 


If your company does not wish to release control to that 
extent, call on a food counseling and directing service. This 
will cost you money, but your company may prefer to pay 
the fee rather than acknowledge complete defeat. Some of 
these organizations will even go further — they will take over 
the entire operation. I am not going to decide for you be- 
tween them and the Greek. 

Do everything you can to see that your employees have 
enough of the right things to eat. You may have to begin by 
seeing that they have enough to eat. Starting each day 
without breakfast or having only a cup of coffee and a bun 
or a doughnut does not give you an employee who can work 
at maximum capacity day after day. Poor selection of food 
or skimpy selection results in absenteeism, accidents, low- 
ered production, and poor morale. Bring to management's 
attention the fable of the belly and the members. You can 
adapt it to fit your campaign for more food and better pre- 
pared food. I believe you can have such a crusade in your 
plant newspaper, and still employees will never know that 
you are crusading. In-plant feeding, even if you have to 
subsidize it, is much better for your company than having 
employees bring dinner pails with unbalanced meals. 


Hard Working, Conscientious, Misunderstood, and Some- 
times Unworthily Disingenuous. — No activity or service 
under your jurisdiction is so misunderstood and so vilified as 
the medical department. Let a speaker in any gathering 
of personnel men refer to the rigidity of an industrial medical 
department, and the titter which sweeps through the audi- 
ence is a viva voce vote against both doctors and nurses. 

The truth is that industrial medical departments have a 
bad press or no press at all, which is about as bad. The per- 
sonnel department could employ a public relations counsel 
full time to explain medical department procedure and lim- 
its to employees, and still there would be misunderstanding 
and dissatisfaction on the part of many. The fault for the 


unpopularity must be shared by the personnel department, 
by the employees who have sought its aid or have been or- 
dered to confer with it, and by the medical department itself. 

The personnel director is at fault because he has not made 
it crystal clear to employees just how much (meaning how 
little) one can expect of the medical department's staff. 
Some employees are a little at fault for being eager to get 
much more than they are entitled under even a generous 
program. Most of all, the members of the medical staff are 
at fault because they are so unbearably ethical and strait- 
laced and sometimes stuff ed-shirted. Having said this. I 
shall now say that I think most industrial medical depart- 
ments do a swell job according to their lights and their pay. 
despite all their foolishness that stems back to the oath of 

When I planned this book, I said in effect to myself that 
I would have no quotes from any authority who has written 
because I wished to write what all personnel directors know, 
and that information I hold is in the public domain. But I 
have been tempted by a statement that hits the nail and 
many medical departments on the head, and I am falling. 
F.M.R. Buhner, M.B., B.Sc, and G.R. McCall, M.D.. D.P.H.. 
are the authors. I admit I don't know what all those letters 
mean, but if I am not impressed by them, I am nonetheless 
impressed by the common sense vein in which the men write. 
You will find an article by them in the October, 1945, issue 
of Industrial Medicine. They say : 

In accordance with the ethics of his profession, the indus- 
trial physician must treat individual health records of workers 
in a confidential manner. Unfortunately, however, an atmos- 
phere of secrecy sometimes pervades all the work of the 
medical department at the expense of proper coordination 
with other departments, even with management. 

How true ! I have heard of medical departments that had 
management buffaloed. The heads of these medical depart- 
ments are not ignorant. They went to school. I do not 


think they are lazy, too lazy to cooperate. I think they are 
idiotically committed to a silly secrecy. In discussing a sur- 
vey of the relation of medical departments to their parent 
managements, Messrs. Bulmer and McCall wrote as follows : 

Frequently it was found that different departments, 
especially medical, safety and personnel, had developed in- 
dependent programs without sufficient collaboration or under- 
standing of the common problems and accepted methods of 
procedure. Such a situation leads to confusion and some- 
times to friction and duplication of effort. 

I read that from the point of view of a personnel man and 
I just laughed out loud. 

At this point, permit me to prophesy. I predict that when 
doctors team up to give joint service under the banner of 
socialized medicine, farsighted companies will hire such a 
team of adequate size to care properly for employees and 
in time for their families as well. You may find it being done 
here and there even now. I believe it to be a paying invest- 
ment for every company. 

Now let us discuss medical departments "as is." The 
standing complaint of employees is that "all the medical de- 
partment tells you to do is to see your own doctor." That is 
not a bad idea, but when your company in an expansive mo- 
ment lets it be known, or it leaks out, what the department 
costs per annum, the employee decides that he personally 
should get a little more for the company's money. 

The purposes of a medical department are to examine new 
employees and those returning after illness and, in many 
companies, to make periodic reexaminations to decide 
whether an employee is physically capable of doing or con- 
tinuing a certain type of work ; to have a doctor or registered 
, nurse on hand to take care of cases involving an accident or 
a physical collapse; to act directly as an adviser on health, 
sanitation, and safety in relation to plant property and 
equipment; and to have office hours for the doctors and 
collaborating specialists during which employees of their 


own volition may come for diagnosis or advice, those al- 
ready under observation may call for a progress report or 
discharge, and those who have been given a nonbenefit rating 
may apply for reexamination. 

The passing standard for the applicant for employment 
must not be too stiff. There must be regard for the type of 
work to be done, and the examination must be the same for 
all. Only during a great labor shortage should an applicant 
be employed who cannot meet the physical (and mental! ) 
requirements. The nonpassing applicant, if he is employed 
notwithstanding, is not entitled to full employee benefits. 
He is a bad risk and should accept employment as such. 

But at this point I wish to voice a criticism. I believe a 
nonbenefit employee should be told by the medical depart- 
ment just why he is not given a passing rating. Some medi- 
cal departments with an ethical smugness rock annoyingly 
back on their heels and say to the new employee. "We cannot 
tell you why we have not passed you, but if you authorize 
us to do so, we shall inform your family physician if you 
will give us his name and address." 

Horse feathers ! Many persons do not have family physi- 
cians. Why make the new employee dig up a doctor and 
pay him $3 or $5 to pass on the information the company 
doctor could tell him? Even if he has a family physician, 
let the man carry the news to him if he wishes. 

If the company does not hire the man, there is no obliga- 
tion to tell him why, any more than there is an obligation 
on the part of a magazine editor to tell an author why his 
manuscript is rejected. But when the company takes on a 
man with the understanding that he will not receive full 
benefits or any benefits because of his medical department 
rating, then I say the company owes it to the man to tell 
him exactly what is the matter with him. 

What will amaze you is the surprising number of women 
who balk at a medical examination. Some have hysterics at 
the very thought. You see so much of the female form di- 
vine at the beaches, in the ballroom, and going up to the top 


of double-decker buses that it is hard to believe there is a 
young female in our fair land who can be averse to a com- 
pany medical examination. Yet there are some whom even 
the most diplomatic trained nurse cannot get to reveal any 
part of their anatomy below their esophagus. Don't ask me 
why. I don't know. All the doctor can do after a refusal is 
give a nonbenefit rating. Perhaps you should have a woman 
doctor for such squeamish females. 

After absence because of illness an employee should be 
sent to the medical department for a pass to return to work. 
Sometimes he is sent home again for a few days. Here you 
will occasionally get a howl from his boss. "If he is well 
enough to come in, he is well enough to work." Not neces- 

If your company decides to have periodic reexaminations 
of all employees, it should give thorough ones. Anyone 
found with a serious deterioration should be told about it. 
Here again I believe that the company medical department 
should tell the employee and not go through the rigmarole of 
being mysterious and telling only the man's physician. 

The size of the medical department, the number of spe- 
cialists and nurses on the staff, the amount of equipment 
provided, the thoroughness of coverage — all these things de- 
pend on the goals, the ability to pay, and the sincerity of 
management. Some plants must be careful in certifying 
new employees because of the nature of the heavy physical 
labor to be performed. Others do not have problems con- 
cerned with brute strength but must guard against the fa- 
tigue that comes from such irritants as eyestrain, noise, 
monotonous repetition, and a hundred other causes. The 
whole burden of correction cannot be put on the medical de- 
partment, but it should have a large part of the responsi- 

If you have an industrial medical program of any moment, 
it should have a head physician who has pride in his associa- 
tion with your company, whether serving on a full-time or 
part-time basis. His visiting staff should include a surgeon, 


if he is not one himself, an eye, ear, nose, and throat spe- 
cialist, and a dentist. You should pay them for enough 
hours of service to permit them to give unhurried attention 
to the cases presented to them. What clerical staff you will 
require depends on the traffic, the plant supervision de- 
manded, and the quantity of breakdowns of records you 
think necessary. 

Should physicians and others on the staff accept em- 
ployees as private patients? Yes, if you have good, conscien- 
tious men who have hearts as well as ability. Sometimes an 
employee who goes to a member of your staff gets a shock 
when the bill is presented, no matter how reasonable the 
medico thinks it is. Thereafter, you have a case of walking 
discontent among your employees which undermines confi- 
dence. I believe most trouble is with patients of the dentist ; 
second, with those of the eye, ear, nose, and throat man. 

If you can be up to date enough to have a trained psychia- 
trist, he should be attached to the personnel department 
rather than to the medical department. That is only my 
opinion. Having a psychiatrist is a matter of money. Can 
you afford him? I can see where such a man could be em- 
ployed full time and save the company far more than his 
salary — if his recommendations could be followed. For one 
thing, he could help deflate those unhappy souls who mis- 
takenly believe they are victims of injustice in the matter 
of pay rises and promotions no matter what the job evalua- 
tion says. But try to get management of smaller plants to 
agree to the outlay to get him. It's tough. 

The Chinese pay their physicians only while they are well. 
Similarly an industrial medical department should be judged 
(although not paid on this basis) by its ability to keep em- 
ployees fit for their maximum production. This means that 
the department is a company board of health. It has an 
over-all interest in personal hygiene, sanitation, lighting, 
safety, food, and hours of work. A medical department that 
does less is not hitting on all cylinders. If it is an adjunct 
of the personnel department, it is up to the personnel director 


to see that this over-all interest is maintained at white 

I can never understand a management that lets itself be 
buffaloed by its medical department. If the men in the de- 
partment do not do a good job, they should be fired. And 
that goes too for the nurses and camp followers. To my 
way of thinking, a department does not do a good job unless 
its members get out in the store or factory or plant and 
know what is going on. If any doctor not industrially trained 
really desires to know what he should do, he can find out. 
The American College of Surgeons has surveyed medical de- 
partments and set up minimum standards for medical serv- 
ice in industry. It also has established working principles. 
But I for one am not happy for you to be contented with 
minimum standards. When it comes to industrial health, 
preventive medicine, and curative medicine, I wish for your 
workers the highest standards. 

A really good industrial physician will know the com- 
pany's supervisors. He will visit with them on the job. He 
will learn from them what workmen are failing, what work- 
men are ailing. You can't get this cooperation from ordi- 
nary take-the-money physicians unless you have the Big- 
Boss himself cracking the whip or unless you yourself are in 
absolute command. 

No physician should make an industrial preplacement 
examination of a prospective employee without knowing ex- 
actly the operations the man will be called upon to perform. 
He should not trust to a job analysis, but he should see men 
working on the job if it is at all strenuous or hazardous. 

Some managements will not insist on good medical serv- 
ice until you have convinced them that it pays to keep 
employees well. You will have to prove that it costs less to 
keep employees healthy than to replace them, that a really 
good medical department, given time, can pay for itself in 
reduced absenteeism. By its support of the safety engineer 
accidents can be reduced. Some workers are more prone to 
have accidents than others. I have often wondered whether 


the proneness of certain people to accidents could be corre- 
lated with the vital statistic that one fourth of the people 
of one generation are the parents of three fourths of the 
people of the next generation. 

If you are interested in having a good medical department, 
subscribe to the magazine I have mentioned, Industrial Med- 
icine. Although you are a layman, a great many of its arti- 
cles will be extremely helpful to you. 


Wherever there is a company recreational activity possi- 
ble and permissible, I am in favor of the personnel depart- 
ment sitting back and waiting for a spontaneous employee 
demand to bring the activity into being. Sports and clubs 
are on a firmer foundation of interest if employees them- 
selves initiate them. Then they answer a natural demand 
and the instigators willingly accept responsibility for them. 

Where company morale is low, it may be necessary for a 
personnel director to be the moving force; but I think the 
shrewder he is, the more eager he will be to make it appear 
that the employees themselves are really bringing the team 
or club into being. 

Whenever an employee asks me why we don't have this 
or that activity, I always say, "I think that's a fine idea. Go 
and talk it up. Then come back and tell me how many are 
interested. If there are enough to put it over, I'll see that 
you get equipment and whatever else you need.'' And I do. 

During the late depression it seemed to me that interest 
in recreational activities slumped a lot. People were too 
busy trying to keep their jobs or their out-of-work relatives 
to be lighthearted enough for much organized play. The 
business picture really demanded some such release as recre- 
ational activities might be expected to give, but many em- 
ployees did not seem to rise to the bait. 

Another thing you will find: A company club will start 
with the greatest enthusiasm but after several years will be 
moribund. The sport is still the same, but the devotees are 


no longer out in force. This is due to diminution in the 
group's personnel and to new responsibilities or interests that 
demand more of one's time. You can make a plant-wide 
canvass for new members, but if this does not result in the 
club's being able to hold its own, let it die of inanition. 

If management wants to sponsor what is in reality a pro- 
fessional baseball or football team, that is quite a horse of 
another color. You can arrange for such a team, but the 
expense of it should be charged to advertising and not to 

Athletics through the Year. — You can have a continuous 
round of athletic activities, baseball, softball, football, and 
bowling follow the seasons. Football is a nuisance because 
it takes more hours per week at a season when daylight be- 
gins to fade early, the equipment is more elaborate, a coach 
often must be obtained, and the chances of injury are much 
greater than in other athletic games. 

I am in favor of making one employee the manager of the 
team and another the captain. Then when you have bought 
equipment and have arranged for a playing field or bowling 
alley, for participation in a league, and for prizes perhaps, let 
the club run itself. You may have a little more work to 
do where there is an intramural bowling league or softball 
league. Let the club run itself, but when it shows that it is 
beginning to slip, make some inquiries. You may have to do 
something about it. 

There can be a girls' softball team or an intramural league. 
It is loads of fun, especially when the girls challenge the 
boys. The girls also go in for skating, horseback riding, and 
tennis. These activities can be "coeducational." Try to ar- 
range it that way. More often than not the girls leave golf 
to the men. 

Late in the season I think there should be tennis and golf 
tournaments with silver cups for prizes. Give a cup for every 
sport you can. The baseball players like miniature base- 
balls they can wear as watch charms or pins. The bowlers 
seem to prefer shoes or sweat shirts as prizes. 


Team photographs are good, first, for the plant newspaper 
and then to be enlarged, framed, and hung in the recreation 
room or trophy room. Be sure that everyone in the picture 
is identified in a caption under glass. Without names, it is 
surprising how the passing of several years makes it impossi- 
ble to identify some of the players. 

When you have a night shift that cannot take up a sport 
at the usual hours, arrange for them whatever they demand 
at the hours when they are free : park permits for morning 
baseball games where young men report for work in the aft- 
ernoon or bowling alleys for men who come off work at 
3 A.M. 


There are cultural activities that exist more for good fel- 
lowship and the satisfaction of the gregarious instinct than 
for uplift. Fortunately, few young employees know that 
they are acquiring culture and sweetness and light when a 
skillful conductor turns the choral society from the hack- 
neyed and banal to Handel and Bach. I am not sure whether 
college glee clubs were the first to get away from the juvenil- 
ity of "Polly-wolly-doodle." At any rate, leave all that 
tripe for short encores if you have a choral society. 

Music — Heavenly Maid. — Harder than running a choral 
society, a band, or a glee club is umpiring the noon-hour 
music in the clubroom or recreation hall. The young want 
hot rhythm eight to the bar. Their elders want the same 
soothing strains that radio programs serve after 11 p.m. when 
the sponsors cease from troubling and the commentators are 
at rest. The young want dance music. Their elders want 
music that helps them digest their luncheon. 

If you can, have a rumpus room for youngsters where 
there is a gramophone with plenty of name-band records. A 
room where they can cut a rug. Then have another room 
where everyone else can have quiet or conversation or a 
game of chess or checkers. 

Years ago Raymond Duncan fixed me with his glittering 


eye as if he were the Ancient Mariner and related how Greek 
peasants downed a hasty luncheon of bread and wine and 
olives and spent the rest of the noon hour happily dancing 
their folk dances. Maybe remembering his enthusiasm on 
that occasion makes me think today that there is some- 
thing in the idea. I wish the Puritans had not put the 
witch's curse on dancing in Anglo-Saxondom. We are get- 
ting out from under, but some of the elders who still frown 
die hard. 

Strike Up the Company Band. — Yes, strike up the band, 
but strike it up in a forty-acre lot. A company band can be 
something of a pleasure, but more often it is a great nuisance. 
Every company of any size has a number of men who have 
played or are playing in bands. A band is fairly easy to 
organize but hard to kill. The instruments cost money, but 
a far greater and a recurring cost is turning out the band on 
company time as a matter of company pride or civic coop- 

Get a good band leader and let him do his stuff. The better 
he is and the more pride he takes in turning out a good prod- 
uct, the more often he will come sneaking up to your office 
to beg you to take on a mediocre millinery machine operator 
because he is a good piccolo player. Be firm. Better to have 
a sour band than load your pay roll with good musicians and 
bad router operators and wiremen. 

What you want the forty-acre lot for is to make it possible 
for the band to practice without driving the night office shift 
nuts. When it strikes up "Stars and Stripes Forever," limp- 
ing along with a "Massa/s in the Cold, Cold Ground" tempo, 
it can be something dreadful. During that doleful din there 
is not a certified public accountant alive who can tot up a 
column of figures correctly, even with the aid of an adding 

The Choral Society. — There is a race-track maxim that 
"A horse is no better than the jockey who rides him." That 
is true of amateur music. A group is no better than its con- 
ductor — and seldom so good. So get an excellent choral 


conductor. Don't let the choral society give more than a 
couple of fine programs a season. In the time they should 
devote to rehearsal, they can't turn out more than that. I 
think, and be a credit to the company. 

Since the women have such a variety of evening clothes, 
for a good stage picture get them all into choir robes if you 
can when you give concerts. After each rehearsal try by 
some means or other to hold the group together for another 
half hour or so for the sake of the social contacts. That helps 
make the evening fun. A dance or two, perhaps, with a 
volunteer pianist. The trouble is that you will generally 
have too many women and too few men. 

Your Least Troublesome Activity. — The chess club will 
give you the least trouble of any activity. Just put the mem- 
bers in a quiet corner for their noonday or evening games 
and you can forget them. There may be chess players who 
are not gentlemen, but I never met one who was not. I have 
found that space in the company's circulating library is a 
fine spot for them. When a visiting team comes of an eve- 
ning for tournament play, there must sometimes be a more 
pretentious setting to impress the visitors. For a home tour- 
nament each season there should be a silver cup which must 
be won three years to be retired. Have several consolation 
prizes each season. Good books on chess make excellent 

Books for the Masses. — Speaking of culture, tins is the 
place to speak of your circulating library. This library is 
quite apart from your company's special one: that is. the 
collection of books of a trade or technical nature used by 
those doing research and by copywriters preparing promo- 
tion and presentation material for the sales department. 

The circulating library, conveniently located for all, 
should have its own librarian, either full or part time as the 
demand for books requires. Regular hours should be kept. 
These should be convenient for the borrowers and not be 
changed arbitrarily without notice. There is a great deal of 
work for a librarian to do, but there are dull stretches during 


a full day when this work can be done. Where the library 
is open only for a few hours, do not expect the librarian 
to get all her work done during that time. The hours 
for the part-time librarian are longer than just the hours 
when the doors are open. Do not put in anyone as librarian 
who does not have a love for books and some knowledge 
of what is being published and how local demand should 
be met. 

For a few weeks my librarian watches a youngster taking 
out trash and one day he says, "Did you ever read this book 
by Dickens?" Or Stevenson or some other standard author. 

"No, I wouldn't read that. It's too dull." 

"Well, you just take this on my say-so, and when you 
bring it back be sure to let me know how you liked it." 

Sometimes we make readers of good books that way. 
Whenever I am tipped off, I make it a point to catch up with 
the reader in the cafeteria or in his department and pause to 
ask, "What do you think of Wilkins Micawber?" or "Have 
you come to that part where David went down to Yarmouth 
in the storm?" So we get to talking and perhaps the reader's 
interest is so keen that when he returns the book he takes 
out "Pickwick Papers" or "Oliver Twist," 

Have an adequate appropriation for your new books and 
spend it. When an ephemeral book has not gone out for a 
year or two, take it out of the stack and put it with the books 
you send periodically to one or another outlet, the public 
library, the American Red Cross, a hospital, or a settlement 
house. If you start a library, buy some of the standard sets 
as a backlog. For current buying, study your clientele. 
You cannot have too many mystery stories. There is a 
steady demand for westerns. Love stories circulate well. 
The best sellers naturally get a heavy play. For these you 
will probably have a waiting list. Sometimes you should 
buy several copies of a popular success. A good biography 
occasionally does well, probably a little better than a good 
travel book. 

Have a fine for each day a book is out over time. Be in- 


exorable about collecting it, even if it is only two cents. You 
will be surprised at the number of books you can buy with 

What burns me up are thefts from the circulating library. 
I have no way of knowing how or why books disappear, but 
they do. I would any day rather have a sugar bowl stolen 
from the restaurant than have a book stolen from the library. 
What incenses me even more is when an employee leaves the 
company (either voluntarily or by request ) and has a book 
on loan. The book is not returned. ■ I write saying that no 
doubt the matter has been overlooked. I suggest that the 
book be sent back by mail. My letter too often is ignored — 
by nice young men and by nice young women. I don't get 
their point of view. Someday when a new employer writes 
for a reference for one of these petty pilferers. I am going to 
break down and write back, "I'll send a written reference for 
Miss Blankety Blank when she returns the book she stole 
from our circulating library." 

D Stands for Drama. — Yes, D stands for Drama — and 
also for Devastating. And that is just what a company dra- 
matic club can be if you let its artistic temperaments get out 
of hand — devastating. Amateur actors can incite themselves 
and their fellows to more treason, stratagems, and spoils, to 
more character murder, mayhem, and madness than any 
other group of employees a trusting, naive personnel direc- 
tor can gather together. This is not one of those cases where 
you can hire a professional director and dismiss the group 
from your mind until the evening of the entertainment. 

I am inclined to think that the more the actors feud, the 
better show they put on. Unfortunately, the organization 
paying your salary is engaged in the business of trying to 
make a profit ; and, therefore, when the squabbles of leading 
ladies and leading men and character women and juveniles 
detract from morale and also detract among the group from 
the 100-per-cent effort to make a profit, you have to step in 
and put your foot down. 

A good group is entitled to a good director, a good play, 


good scenery, and a good auditorium. An evening-length 
play is better than several one-act plays. A light com- 
edy which has been a Broadway success is your best bill. 
Avoid heavy dramas. Avoid costume plays which present 
scenes and situations alien to the cultural background of 
your audience. 

When you come to a musical comedy or a comedy with 
music, you are getting into something intricate and expen- 
sive. Here your amateurs show up more rankly as amateurs 
than they do when they put on a play. Too often in the 
chorus the few girls who are good so far outshine the many 
girls who are almost impossible that your audience suffers 
more than it should even if you let everybody in for free. 
Give a musical comedy when you must, but don't be sur- 
prised if you sprout a few gray hairs before the final curtain 

Should you charge admission to concert or play? Person- 
ally, I would rather not. If your company is too poor to 
make an appropriation to carry the activity, I don't think 
you should have that activity. Also, I don't think a com- 
pany group should give a benefit for charity. Leave that 
field to the professionals. 

One thing a personnel department must do: watch with 
eagle eye the distribution of tickets. Check and double- 
check against favoritism and unfairness. We caught a girl 
with too many tickets for a strictly company entertainment. 
She confessed she had mooched them because she owed the 
members of her large bridge club a party, and here was her 
chance to pay her obligations without cost or trouble to her- 
self. One evening I found the walls of the hall bulging with 
its unexpectedly large audience. The next day I learned 
that the young man charged with printing the tickets had 
thoughtfully printed an extra hundred and graciously dis- 
tributed them among his friends. 

It is better to give a play several nights in a small hall 
than to give it one night in a large theater. Amateur actors 
cannot project their voices satisfactorily in a large audi- 


torium. They appear lost and helpless on a large stage. 
Give them a small stage and an audience of three or four 
hundred. Musicals? Yes, a large auditorium, but make 
them shout the dialogue. 

Each employee wishing to attend a play is entitled to two 
tickets. You have to stretch this sometimes. Your back- 
stage distribution to the actors and the stage crew will be 
heavier. Not every employee can get tickets on the two-for- 
one basis, but a great many do not care to come. On the 
other hand, you will find a black market developing in some 
departments. Employees who have no intention of attend- 
ing ask for tickets which they give to a friend plumping for 
four or five of six. If moral suasion does not help you in 
ticket distribution, then all you can do is to point the finger 
of scorn — being careful to keep your scorn so general that 
no one can sue you for slander. 


When it comes to giving money to charity, too many peo- 
ple do not let their left hand know what their right hand is 
doing — because their right hand is slipping a button into 
the collection box. Anonymous charity is too often meager 
charity. That is why there are so many charity balls, charity 
bazaars, charity concerts, and charity bingo games. People 
want to have that warm glow that comes from contributing 
to a charitable cause and at the same time have fun or en- 
tertainment themselves. They would rather pay $10 for 
two tickets for something than stand and deliver $3 cold, 
cash on the line, with no chance to see or be seen. 

Maybe this paragraph will be a digression, but it is illu- 
minating. One day a competent secretary came in and said, 
"Give me a job. I am fed up with the charity drive I am 
working for." Then she explained. "The whole committee 
of debutantes they have as a front is mad about publicity 
for themselves. They don't know a thing about the charity 
and they don't care. I stood it until this morning when I 
had to telephone one of the debs to ask why she had not come 


to headquarters to do some promised work. I got her on the 
line and she said, 

" 'Wait a minute. Mother wishes to speak to you.' 

"Mother came to the telephone and upbraided the charity 
for not getting her daughter's picture in any New York news- 

"I said, 'Why, she appeared in the newspapers two days 
ago in a group of several debutantes pictured taking care of 

"And the mother replied, 'Yes, I know that; but she hasn't 
had a picture in the newspaper alone. So she won't be down 
any more.' 

"And that was that. Please give me a job. Any job. I 
can't stand it any more where I am." 

The unpleasant moral of this is, if you have to have a 
plant-wide drive for charity and really want a success, you 
must put your exhibitionists on view like freaks in bathrobes 
on the platform outside the circus side show. Your per- 
formers — not the worthy cause — bring in the dollars. I sup- 
pose I ought not to be astonished at this phase of human 
nature, but I am always a little ashamed of the human race 
when I watch the mechanics of the process. 

So if you must, assemble all the employees in the yard at 
the noon hour, get a visiting movie star of the twelfth magni- 
tude to say a few words written by the press agent, and sell 
a few scrawly autographs for sweet charity. Get a spell- 
binder to pull out a few emotional stops in his voice and 
speak for five or six minutes. Then let the captain of the 
Blue Team and the captain of the Red Team report what 
they have done and what their teams promise. When you 
have $2,000 in sight, have the whistle over the boiler room let 
go with several triumphant blasts. Unless you are choked 
with your own emotion, that whistle will sound to you like 
a Bronx cheer. 

I am not in favor of a stage-managed emotional drive for 
anything. I thank my lucky stars I have never had to be a 
party to one. I admire and respect those companies that 


have dignified appeals for community chests or other chari- 
ties. No high pressure. No artificial stimulus. No playing 
of one department against another. 

Shining examples of company pressure were the war bond 
drives where concerns proudly reported drive after drive that 
they had sold their employees 100 per cent. And a month 
after each drive a great number of the employees sneaked to 
the bank to sell their bonds — so they could have the money 
to be 100 per cent in the next drive ! This diastole and sys- 
tole rhythm of employee war-bond money came as near per- 
petual motion as anything I know. Perhaps the whoopla 
was justified because some of the bonds were not cashed. 
But I believe a less boisterous campaign would have done as 
well in the long run. 

Even for a nonpressure drive there has to be machinery 
and literature. The machinery you set up yourself. Most 
of the literature you get from the charity or other cause in- 
volved. However, the president of your company should 
start the campaign with a letter sent to everyone setting 
forth the worthiness of the cause and the reasons employees 
should contribute. 

There should be enough captains appointed to make sure 
that every employee is approached and given the opportu- 
nity to make a donation. No employee should have his 
contribution made public or his failure to contribute made 
matter for comment. If anyone wishes to make known what 
he has given, it is his own horn he blows, whether the note 
be sweet or sour. 

The appointment of captains for drives is the test of a 
personnel director's acumen. You should not appoint timid 
souls — the kind that as applicants come to your office and 
say, "You haven't any jobs open today, have you?" That 
frame of mind does not open pocketbooks for charity. On 
the other hand, you must not appoint the brassy man or 
woman determined to hold the nongivers and the small giv- 
ers up to scorn. Between them is the ideal captain, forceful, 
earnest, honest. Try to find him. 


Charity drive receipts should be publicized, the total at 
the end of each week. Usually a department likes to have 
its own total displayed on its own bulletin board. Depart- 
ment thermometers are a good publicity stunt, giving results 
in dollars or pints of blood or percentages of employees con- 
tributing. Clocks serve the same purpose, with the smaller 
hand to be moved on an inner circle of the number of con- 
tributors and the larger hand moving on an outside circle 
scaled to reach the goal at "twelve o'clock." 

Before the Second World War there were plenty of union 
units in plants which would not collaborate with a plant- 
wide drive for contributions for charity, even where benefits 
were for their own members in time of need. The reason was 
understandable. They did not wish management to get 
credit in the eyes of the public for any contributions of union 
men. Instead of the Joe Doakes Company contributing 
$12,000 to the community chest, its published contribution 
was $8,000. The union men of the company sent $4,000 to 
the central labor organization, and it was lumped with what 
came from other union sources. 

There is a happier attitude today. Personnel directors are 
finding many union men who had been stubborn separation- 
ists now willing to cooperate. There is a dual report, of 
course, because the unions are still, and rightly, jealous of 
their standing. But they enter into these charity drives 
under personnel department guidance, and the money goes 
to the charity's treasurer from the company's cashier. 

When you run up against union opposition to participa- 
tion in a drive, then get in touch with the highest ranking 
union official in your district and talk the matter over with 
him. He is big enough to find an unacrimonious solution. 



This chapter will deal with trade unions as they come 
within the purview of the personnel director. Here, if any- 
where, one must divest oneself of the mental and emotional 
bias that comes from training and environment if both the 
employer and the union are to have scrupulous treatment. 

During two hundred years of industrialism there has been 
a chasm of ignorance and avarice, of passion and injustice. 
of stupidity and arrogance. Today men of good will and 
resolute temper are bridging it. But many bridges remain 
to be built before our world comes to an honest equilibrium 
of honest forces. You are a bridge builder. 

Nothing is so necessary as the union where workers have 
been exploited by capital. On the other hand, you may well 
say that nothing is so exploiting as selfish, brutal union lead- 
ership. No need here to dig up the bitter conflicts of the 
past. Let us hope we shall not see them again. Much as 
the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 has lacked in clear- 
ness and particularly, therefore, in administration, much as 
it has lacked in impartial treatment, we can hope that when 
its vision becomes truly binocular it will mark the end of an 
inhuman, dark, and bloody era. But in dealing with your 
problems today you must remember that they are rooted in 
the problems of all the dark yesterdays. 

The Act put an end, let us hope, to the activities of labor 
spies and the crushing of employees advocating unionism. 
No personnel director should be so obtuse and reactionary 
as to fight to deny the necessity for unions. I believe an 
honest, intelligent personnel director does not need labor 



spies today. If your management is misguided enough to 
want them, let management hire them and not blacken the 
personnel department with responsibility for them. 

Whether or not a company has a labor relations division 
distinct from the personnel department, the personnel direc- 
tor must be acquainted with both national and state labor 
relations legislation. Emphasis upon one or the other de- 
pends upon whether the company is engaged in interstate or 
intrastate business. Since I believe strongly in a personnel 
director interpreting management to the employees and em- 
ployees to management, I believe he has greater strength and 
greater opportunity to better human relations if he does not 
appear on the side of management at the labor-management 
bargaining table. 

This means that he does not get himself impressed on the 
minds of employees as a party to the hard-boiled attitude of 
management. (Of course the labor negotiators are hard- 
boiled men and women too, but their followers do not see 
them as such). As he watches the bickerings and the wran- 
glings with the cool detachment of an umpire, a personnel 
director may well say what has been said so often, "A plague 
on both your houses." 

The up-and-coming personnel director who finds that he 
will have a great deal of labor relations work to do will do 
well to read the magazines or papers published by the unions 
with which he has to deal. He will then have an understand- 
ing of the indoctrination that the union leaders offer as the 
"line" for the rank and file. No personnel director who reads 
these publications thoughtfully can live thereafter in an 
ivory tower. 

The labor press does not escape that unfortunate distor- 
tion which seems to be the curse of every minority press. 
Here too often gray is indeed black. But perhaps for your 
purpose — the understanding and guiding of human relations 
— a prejudiced press gives you the over-all information about 
attitudes which you really need. 

Macaulay shrewdly foretold the century of what we in- 


elegantly call "the common man" when he wrote in his essay 
on John Milton, "In proportion as men know more and think 
more, they look less at individuals and more at classes." 
Study of the labor press gives you the opportunity to "look 
more at classes." Whether you will know more thereafter 
depends on what you bring to the study and how well you 
sift the evidence. 

Is Black Black and White White? — When management 
and labor face each other across the table, neither side is all 
white nor all black. Some negotiators look across and see 
black. They look at their own line and see white. What the 
umpire sees factually is varying shades of gray. All elements 
of justice, all elements of truth are not on one side. The 
real and honest object of the negotiations is to get as much 
white as possible into the contract or other finding. 

Either openly or covertly, the proceedings of a labor- 
management debate, with betterments for either side as the 
goal, resemble a criminal law trial with both sides the prose- 
cuting attorney. Each side puts everything it has into the 
indictment and tries to prove every count. 

These observations are made to point up the fact that the 
personnel director is caught between two fires. He must be- 
ware. In his open dealings with either management or labor 
in relation to negotiations, he is placed on the side of the 
enemy if he takes an open stand to present the other side. 

You are fortunate if the unions in your establishment have 
been in existence for a number of years, and more fortunate 
still if they have been in your plant for years. You are most 
fortunate if the members of your unions have been long con- 
ditioned to orderly procedure. A young union with mem- 
bers unacquainted with union techniques and without union 
traditions is a volatile, emotional group hard on management 
and hard on those of its leaders who are worldly wise. 

The old union knows what it wants without any illusions. 
The young union wants everything, and it wants everything 
at once, immediately, right now. When the old, respectable, 
intelligent union alleges that management is all black and 


declares itself to be all white, it says it with a cynical aware- 
ness that its tongue is in its cheek. When a young union 
paints its management as all black, it does so with the fervor 
of Peter the Hermit preaching the First Crusade. 

Where you find the young union, you may find yourself in 
an expanding organization, one moving from a paternal to 
an impersonal, industrial relationship. It is an unhappy 
period. In nearly every case it is complicated by a faltering, 
uncertain union development which distresses old employees. 
It baffles, bewilders, and hardens some of the older men and 
women who identify themselves with management. 

"My Union Will Take Care of Me." — The antagonism 
between management and labor when there was less coopera- 
tion than obtains today has resulted in hardships for a num- 
ber of union men. As young men, they refused to take the 
steps necessary in order to qualify for company benefits. 
With sturdy union independence and an honest belief that 
nothing good could come from an employer, the answer to 
requests for compliance always was, "Oh, my union will take 
care of me." 

After twenty years of health and independence, there is 
unexpectedly a long, expensive illness. Then the employee 
hobbles up to the personnel department to see why he has 
had no company benefits. A good personnel department will 
have the case well documented. Because even now you 
sometimes find an employee strong with the strength of 
young manhood and unionism who says, "My union will take 
care of me," be sure you have in his folder definite testimony 
to the stand he has taken. In all fairness send a second no- 
tice and a third notice to the man and then write a note to 
the foreman. If the employee ignores all written and oral 
notice, then later in all fairness to the company he should 
not obtain as a beggar what was offered him as a right and 

A union would be well advised to instruct all its members 
to arrange to take every benefit management offers on a 
personal acceptance basis. 


I am glad to say that the better guided unions are now be- 
ginning to establish relations with community services 
staffed by professional workers. From such a service they 
get qualified social workers who give advice to union mem- 
bers who seem to be in need of it. A member can call at the 
office of this service and get counsel or there may be a home 
visit. Such an arrangement is a sure step forward, espe- 
cially where a union has members who are, economically, in 
that large group that makes social service necessary. Inci- 
dentally, it also takes a load off union headquarters. 

Union Practices: Good, Bad, and Debatable. — Xot every 
personnel director will be called upon to walk a tightrope 
between his management and his unions with every strand 
of the rope some one of all the good, bad, or debatable labor 
policies. Yet regardless of the number of strands, few or 
many, in his own particular tightrope, he should not only 
know each one well but have a definite opinion about it. He 
must know and be able to say why it is white, black, or a cer- 
tain shade of gray. Only the sureness of reasoned conclu- 
sions can take him with any confidence into the intricate 
maze of union policies and practices. 

You will have to decide which are to be put into the good 
column, which into the bad, and which into the debatable. 
The three columns may vary with each passing year as time 
brings greater experience, changed conditions, and heavier 
responsibilities. I shall list my three columns for you in 
narrative fashion with the warning that another year I may 
not think exactly as I do now. Conditions and policies may 
have changed. 

I have room here only to give you my pinpoint reasons. 
Your reasons may not be the same as mine, yet you may 
reach the same conclusions. On the other hand, you may 
disagree with me heartily. That is all right too. All I ask 
is that you have definite opinions and valid reasons why you 
have them. 

The Union as an Instrument of Good. — In the fable of the 
wolf and the lamb we are told, "They have little chance of 



resisting the injustice of the powerful whose only weapons 
are innocence and reason." Let us wave the fabulous wolf 
and lamb and also the latter's innocence and reason. The 
emphasis is on the "injustice of the powerful." That is why 
men have to combine, to resist what they feel to be injustice 
of the powerful, injustice of the owners of the tools of pro- 

Years ago I arrived in a Midwestern city too late to wit- 
ness a street railway strike, but I read perhaps a thousand 
pages of court testimony about it. The men had tried to 
form a union. The company had sought to thwart them. 
Man after man went on the stand and in substance said : 

"We felt better being together. No one of us alone could 
fight a winning battle to right the wrongs we had been suf- 
fering. Together we might win something to improve our 

There you have it — the herd instinct in the fight for a bet- 
ter way of life. Dour old Thomas Carlyle voiced it with 
his italic emphasis when he wrote, "Great is the combined 
voice of men, the utterance of their ins tine ts which are truer 
than their thoughts; it is the greatest a man encounters, 
among the sounds and shadows which make up this world of 

There you have your first reason for a union : the necessity 
to have an instrument to express "the combined voice of 
men." Its ultimate expression is a contract between capital- 
management and labor. This contract is imperfect at best, 
but it is an evidence of a democratic process. Debate, con- 
flicting beliefs and aims, compromise. Imperfect at best, 
but still a step forward toward that 

one far-off divine event 
To which the whole creation moves. 

So the union contract becomes a constitution of manage- 
ment-labor relations. As such, the personnel director wel- 
comes it. It is as illuminating to him as was the lamp of 
experience to Patrick Henry. Because of it there can be 


appeals from alleged injustice through grievance machinery. 
Stemming from the contract, the constitution, we have the 
grievance committee. It provides the necessary mechanics 
of a court of law or of equity for the protection of the in- 
dividual worker. It protects him in his right to work, his 
right to»fair treatment on the job, his right to his seniority 
position, and his right to a hearing and a studied verdict 
when his dismissal is appealed as unfair. 

Another instrument for good is union protection against 
the stretch-out. The intense mechanization of processes of 
production has urged machines to the limit and stimulated 
the invention of new machines with greater productivity. 
The human cogs that are meshed with the machine have 
been caught in this feverish step-up of production. (This 
is a metaphorical description, but it expresses the trend in 
a sentence.) But human flesh and the human spirit rebel 
long before steel crystallizes. It is to prevent human flesh 
and the human spirit from being worn out and thrown on the 
scrap heap that the union steps in to protect the worker. 

I remember an interesting conversation I once had with 
a charming young daughter of a high official of a steel com- 
pany. "Why," she explained, "of course the men who tend 
the furnaces work twelve hours a day, but it really isn't hard 
work. All they do is stand around and watch to see that 
the temperature is constant." 

Despite her charm I said, "I think it is an outrage for 
men to work so long a shift even if, as you say, much of the 
time they do nothing. They are there all that time, and 
they shouldn't be." 

I hope those workers have a union now, and that it says 
to management for those men, "Thou shalt not." It would 
have been a splendid thing for humanity if Moses on Mount 
Sinai had found a larger stone and thus had had room to 
grave a few more prohibitions. 

Another benefit I see in the union is the morale engen- 
dered in employees by periods of labor quiet. The contract 
is in operation, even if it does not do equity. The workers 


are stabilized for a term. They know exactly where they 
are "at." They recognize, or their leaders make them real- 
ize, that the time is not now for agitation, turmoil, and 
strife, so work goes on at a better pace. 

Not all unions have recognized the value of a union effi- 
ciency program. Forward-looking unions do, and we can 
expect more unions to do so as the younger men with 
sounder training and better vision take over union affairs of 
leadership. Some unions have industrial engineers in their 
employ whose findings have been useful in outlining to 
management and again to administrative bodies better ways 
to accomplish the results sought by management and by 

In the same field we must acknowledge the valuable serv- 
ice of a union that works directly in collaboration with 
management. These union-management committees limit 
themselves to problems of production. Whether they are al- 
ways harmonious or not, here we see a great advance in hu- 
man relations. It is distinctly within the province of a 
personnel director to foster such a joint undertaking of labor 
and management for the benefit of both. 

The Union as an Instrument of Tyranny. — The lyrical 
note evident in the catalogue of admirable qualities a union 
can possess dies away when we turn to review the union as 
an instrument of tyranny, with its arbitrary or despotic use 
of power. What is unfortunate is that everyone — laboring 
men, their employers, and the buying public — may all suffer 
when union practices and passions run counter to economic 
honesty. This running counter is the triumph of personal 
or class selfishness over enlightened public and enlightened 
self-interest. That battle with such selfishness will be a hard 
one for enlightenment to win. 

No personnel director can condone evil policies of the 
union any more than he can condone evil policies of capital 
or of its servant, management. I regret to say that I fear 
there is little you yourself as personnel director can do to 
change these policies; but whatever you can do, do it. On 


balance, in this economic world of production for profit the 
union is necessary, despite, in many instances, its calamitous 
and downright dishonest practices. However, many prac- 
tices you may call subversive you cannot call downright dis- 
honest because they are not really based on dishonesty but 
on a myopic interpretation of the present and the future. 

Perhaps that farseeing and humane philosopher. John 
Dewey, can throw some light when he speaks of "the confu- 
sion about purposes and values characteristic of modern life, 
socially and morally." He says, "The confusions in social 
and moral life are mainly traceable to the impact of science, 
through invention and technology, upon social activities, old 
institutions and traditional mores/' 

Aside from bald-faced racketeering, Dr. Dewey has put 
his finger on the errors of some -unions. They arise from 
"confusion. " Invention and technology have taken away 
the security, real or fancied, which the workman of yore had 
accepted as his inheritance. The great strides invention and 
technology have made in the last three quarters of a century 
have destroyed a world that stemmed from scholastic feu- 

The impact of invention and technology on social activi- 
ties brought confusion when it upset the relationship of 
master craftsman and apprentice ; on old institutions, when 
a world-wide transportation network and mass production 
accelerated the tempo of the entire civilized world; and on 
traditional mores, when aggregations of workmen jealous 
of their status and their wage deny the right to work with 
them to others, notably to an emergent racial minority. 

You as personnel director will not be concerned with the 
evils I attribute to one or another union in this present 
blurred phase of union development, but, as I have already 
said, you should have an understanding of them and opin- 
ions about them. 

As a personnel director, I object to "feather bedding'' — 
made work. I object to restrictions on apprentices and 
length of apprenticeship beyond the learning years. I ob- 


ject to limitations on union membership. I object to limita- 
tions on production. I object to strong-arm elections of 
union leaders. There should be secret balloting. I object to 
secrecy in money matters. Union men are entitled to an out- 
side audit of their funds with a full report to them. 

I object to large union initiation fees. I object to the sell- 
ing of work cards to nonunion workers. I object to these 
workers doing the work but having a subunion status. I ob- 
ject to unions maintaining that they shall have no respon- 
sibility for union malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance 
before a court of law or equity. I object to an unending 
maintenance of membership clause in a union contract. I 
object to the boycott. I object to jurisdictional disputes 
hampering production. I object to the closed shop. Let 
anyone with the requisite skill come in. I object to foremen 
having a union. They are a group in the management hier- 

As I look over the list, I can put my objections under the 
heading that John Dewey calls "confusions." It is interest- 
ing to note the parallel between a confused union within the 
nation and a confused nation within the global community 
of governments. * 

The confused nation has its jurisdictional disputes with 
other nations. It has its feather bedding (getting paid an 
outrageous price for silver, for instance). It has workers to 
whom it does not accord equality of opportunity. It will 
not divest itself of sovereignty sufficient to answer for its 
acts to a World Court. It brings pressure through boycott. 
It enacts a tariff wall which in a sense makes the nation a 
closed shop. In this day of One World there is no place for 
the selfish nation. No more is there for the selfish union. 

All of us recognize the plight of union men when the union 
falls into the hands of racketeers and gangsters. I object to 
the lack of law which makes this possible. We need more 
statesmen in the Congress of the United States and fewer 
politicians afraid of union displeasure. The first duty of a 
politician is to get elected to office. Then his first duty is to 


get reelected. His political fears persuade him that he can't 
get reelected by antagonizing a large group of organized vot- 
ers, especially a large group whose emotions can be played 
upon by demagogues. 

I object to the unconscionable alliance of a union with a 
group of manufacturers to bilk the public. Listen to a para- 
graph from the division of the Circuit Court of Appeals 
about an admittedly uneconomic boycott which had "in some 
cases raised the cost of electrical equipment in Xew York 
City to twice or three times the cost at which it might other- 
wise have been purchased." 

Here is the paragraph : "All in all, the situation disclosed 
by the findings is that of an entire industry in a local area 
quite dominated and closed to outsiders by a powerful union, 
whose members receive as a result exceedingly high wages, 
shorter working hours, and improved working conditions, 
and whose copartners — the local manufacturers and contrac- 
tors — also gain by the greater profits achieved through the 
stifling of competition." 

In this chapter I am talking about labor unions, so this is 
no place to give you my opinion about the "copartners — the 
local manufacturers" in what we blithely believe is a land 
of free enterprise. If you ever find yourself working for 
such a "copartner," resign in order to preserve your own 

If you want your blood to boil, look up some of the exac- 
tions of labor unions at the time the New York World's Fair 
was being built out on Flushing Meadows. After their un- 
happy, costly experiences there, foreign nations — to say 
nothing of many American exhibitors — have every right to 
look on us as a nation dominated in the labor field by legal- 
ized pirates, brigands, and freebooters. 

What can the personnel director do when confronted with 
such a labor union as this one before the Circuit Court of 
Appeals? He cannot do anything. He cannot tread softly 
and carry a big stick, because he has no big stick. The Sher- 
man, Clayton, and Norris-La Guardia acts, in the words of 


Mr. Justice Frankfurter, have "immunized trade-union ac- 

Debatable Union Practices. — There are some union prac- 
tices that put me on the fence. I don't know whether to 
dump them on the side marked "Good" or the side marked 

I can see reasons for the checkoff, but I am still too much 
of an individualist to think it wholly good. If you do not 
have the checkoff, the union is put on its mettle to make 
such an excellent showing that the worker is glad to continue 
his payment of dues to get the union's stewardship. If you 
have the checkoff, the officials of the union can sit back and 
the money rolls in whether or not the worker is getting what 
he is paying for. 

I am of two minds about the sympathetic strike. I have 
seen it as an instrument of good. I have seen it as an in- 
strument of oppression. 

The question of the incorporation of unions is debatable. 
Perhaps it will be sufficient to have a law modeled on the 
British Trade Dispute and Trade Union Act of 1927. 

The question of the right of explicit seniority is debatable. 
So is the right of the union to designate what employees 
the employer may or may not hire among union men where 
there is a closed shop. In the first instance, seniority may 
bring to a key position a man with less ability to fill it than 
some other worker has. It follows that production suffers. 
In the second instance, some old union wheel horse may be 
palmed off, whereas there may be available another man bet- 
ter qualified. Both are the same problem, one inside and 
the other outside. 

The question generally of a guaranteed annual wage, now 
one of union labor's demands, is debatable. But it has 
worked out successfully for George A. Hormel & Company of 
Austin, Minn. Given a similar setup, I am for it. 

The question of a work week less than forty hours in five 
days is debatable. I know. It can already be found. But, 
generally, I think it is still debatable. 


The question of picketing may not be debatable, but the 
manner of picketing is debatable indeed. And who shall 

One day I walked past a leading concert hall and found a 
man trudging up and down carrying a sign that read, "Un- 
fair to Union Labor." I asked the difficulty and was told 
that the stagehands wanted the management to maintain a 
full stage crew where there had never been one needed in all 
the years the hall had served for concerts. 

"Why," I exclaimed, "there's just a bare stage! All the 
place needs is a janitor." I was outraged. 

"That's true," said the picket, lowering his sign while he 
lit a cigarette. 

"What would you yourself do," I asked, "if you owned 
that hall and the union came to you and demanded a full 

The man picked up his sign. "I'd see them in hell first," 
he said. Then he trudged on. 

Union Labor's Enemy — the Unioneer. — Union Labor's 
greatest enemy is not ruthless capital or management. Skill- 
ful organization and subsequent cohesion can meet that 
"enemy" with sufficient power. The greatest enemy of union 
labor is the unioneer. Here is my definition : a unio neer is a 
union leader who puts his own interests ahead of his union's, 
often comes to control and usually retains control illegally, 
uses his position of power for blackmail and embezzlement, 
votes himself gifts, gratuities, and an outrageous salary,. per- 
haps has a country estate in the North and a winter home in 
Florida, and hobnobs with gangsters, former convicts, and 
the lowest sporting element, male and female. Any union 
man who has such a leader is either a crook at heart or a poor 
deluded nut if he does not try to do something to get a bet- 
ter leader. 

When a personnel director finds himself up against a union 
with such leadership, the best he can hope for is that the 
head of his local and its business agent are decent men who 
have enough leeway in conducting affairs to present and to 


treat employment problems reasonably. The bigger the lo- 
cal, the more ignorant its membership, the more likely it is 
that the virus of racketeering overlordship infects the local 

Unfortunately, local leadership may be in the hands of 
racketeering unioneers in unions where the national control 
appears to be untainted. These local scalawags will not be 
likely to attempt a crooked deal with you. They will go to 
management where the money is and the responsibility of 
keeping the wheels turning. The other day detectives ar- 
rested three officers of a local union who had threatened to 
call a strike unless they were paid $1,500. The employer 
notified the police, and the men were arrested after marked 
money had been accepted. All honor to that employer. Not 
only was he a servant of justice, but he did a good deed in the 
service of all upright, honorable union men. 


Union problems are not going to be settled in my time or 
yours; therefore, it does not behoove us to tear our hearts 
out with anxiety, concern, or regret when we face them. 
Look ahead, if you can, to those problems you think will con- 
front you. Some will never reach you because you may have 
been clever enough to remove the cause for complaint. Some 
others will not be as formidable as they loom in prospect. 
But even if they are, keep your temper and your sense of 

Let observation with extensive view 
Survey mankind, from China to Peru, 

and nowhere will an organization be found that we can re- 
gard as the typical labor union. No more than that exten- 
sive view reveals a typical national government. Unions 
range all the way from an absolute Oriental despotism, 
through all stages of autocracy, to the nearest approach to 
democracy that human wisdom and cooperation and forbear- 
ance can devise. There are labor unions that are absolute 


despotisms, others that are autocratic in their rule and ex- 
ploitation of their members, and some that are democratic 
and well conducted for the benefit of the members. 

What we struggle for is not a world where capital is in 
the saddle or union labor is in the middle. What we strug- 
gle for is a world where the general public, which includes 
the capitalist and the laborer, is in the saddle, a world where 
free men can engage in any free enterprise, where the dice 
are not loaded by man's devising against any one of us. 

Speaking to both employers and employees about indus- 
trial democracy, the late Charles W. Eliot, then president 
emeritus of Harvard University, declared that both sides 
must accept "the truth that the democracy which is to be 
made safe in the world does not mean equality of possessions 
or powers, or a dead level of homogeneous and monotonous 
society, but on the contrary the free cultivation of infinitely 
diversified human gifts and capacities, and liberty for each 
individual to do his best for the common good." 

On that platform every personnel director can stand and 
say with Daniel Webster, when he was speaking of a cause 
as divided as this has been, "Liberty and Union!" 



The two massive pillars on which a personnel program is 
built are selection, which includes placement, and training. 
Selection puts the likely applicant through the screen. 
Training gives him the ultimate in efficiency on the job. 
Placement is envisaged in selection because the applicant is 
usually selected for a certain place. Occasionally, however, 
training reveals that he has potentialities that make him bet- 
ter fitted for some position other than the one first contem- 
plated. Sometimes this means a step-up. If the screening 
has been good, it is not often that final placement means a 

No matter how new you are to your job or how new your 
department itself may be, in nearly all kinds of enterprise 
training involves some immediate program. Yet it would 
be a large department indeed that provides or supervises all 
types of training. Since you will find that you do not have 
them all, by no means be impatient to institute new ones. 
Watch the ones you have. Make them render the maximum 
service. Then with the experience you have gained start a 
new one if necessary and any other still later. 

Your immediate training program will be an orientation 
course, a preplacement course or one for beginners on the job. 
There is another training program in some industries which 
stems from this same period. That is apprenticeship train- 
ing, many such courses of work instruction being operated 
under the National Apprentice Training Plan. Still another 
may be a training course for college graduates, designed to 
develop a group of young men or women who will have first- 
hand knowledge of the entire organization through having 
worked in many departments. From this group will be 



chosen junior executives whose performance in the training 
period justifies the hope that further advancement will be 
inevitable and naturally of mutual benefit. Granted that 
college graduates give you a selected, intelligent group, I for 
one would never rule out from such training for future execu- 
tive positions anyone who showed talent. Why penalize a 
bright, progressive youngster just because he did not have 
the good fortune to command a college course and a degree? 

A discussion of who shall do the teaching will come at the 
end of this chapter. 

Unless you have an initial training period, your new work- 
ers who have never done the assigned work before will be 
hit-or-miss workers learning only by the costly trial-and- 
error process. After the initial courses there are those in the 
advanced training programs designed to increase the effi- 
ciency of workers, supervisors, foremen, junior executives, 
and even men in senior executive and top management posi- 

This increased efficiency, if the courses are successful, will 
range from more economical physical production of what 
the lawyers love to term "goods, wares, and merchandise" to 
the understanding and the application of the subtle distinc- 
tions in the psychology of human relationships expected of 
high-placed executives — and not found too often. 

The advanced program may include refresher courses and 
step-up courses for employees, training on a higher plane for 
supervisors and junior executives, and that most difficult in- 
struction of all for a personnel director to make palatable — 
acquainting men at the top with the best personnel practices 
and getting them into the mood to incorporate them into 
their own philosophy. I regard the training of supervisors 
(foremen) as the most important part of all these courses. 

Through some of these courses runs a certain incidental 
stress upon safety. There must also be specific courses for 
workers whose activities subject them and their fellow work- 
ers to the possibility of physical injury and sometimes even 
death. These courses are part of the general safety program. 


Getting Acquainted Quickly. — Since the purpose of all 
training is to fit the employee to do a better job than he 
would without it, a more or less comprehensive orientation 
course should be given immediately. Generally speaking, 
one is oriented when he is put into a correct relation, has 
found his bearings, is adjusted to ascertained principles. In 
personnel work an orientation course gives the new employee 
not only a knowledge of his job and of those with and under 
whom he labors, but also an acquaintance with the geogra- 
phy of the plant, the line of products it manufactures or 
sells, and the policies which inspirit it. 

You are now saying to yourself that there cannot be one 
single course satisfactory for all new employees of any or- 
ganization we have in mind in this book. Perhaps you are 
almost right. There may be such ; where the operations are 
all closely related and the operators are all on the same level 
of intelligence. What are you to do where your requisitions 
in a day call for laborers, gear cutters, structural draughts- 
men, business machine operators, stenographers, and mill- 
wrights? You are going to adapt your orientation course in 
each case to fit the intelligence of the employee and his needs 
in the labor group. 

I am one who holds that if a man is good enough to hire, 
he is good enough to be told something about his job, some- 
thing about the company he works for, and at least some- 
thing about what it stands for in relation to him and his 
needs and desires. He is a human being — and in this coun- 
try a human being with a vote — and he deserves something 
more than a gruff, "Here's your shovel, and right over there 
is where we want a sewer dug." 

There are two purposes in going to the expense of orienta- 
tion training. The first is a matter of introducing the man 
to his work in its relation to the physical plant and himself 
in relation to fellow workers. The second is a matter of 
morale, which in this case means "pride in belonging." You 
have no comprehensive idea how valuable that is unless you 
have been engaged in personnel work five or ten years. If 


you have been in it that long, this book is not required read- 
ing for you. 

So the first purpose is geographical and fraternal; the sec- 
ond purpose is soundly psychological; the new employee 
gets information first from an authoritative source instead 
of getting a distorted picture of the company from a dis- 
gruntled barfly or a malicious soapbox orator. First impres- 
sions are best, provided you tell the truth and then the 
company equals or exceeds it in practice. As you can figure 
out for yourself, this second purpose pays even better divi- 
dends than the first. 

It turns out that the nearest translation of the Biblical 
use of the Word "charity" is not "love," as we have been 
taught so long, but "insight." So Saint Paul really said to 
the Corinthians, "Now abideth faith, hope, insight, these 
three; but the greatest of these is insight." The worker 
comes to his new job with faith and hope. It is the duty of 
the personnel director in an orientation course to give him 

The least a company can do is to issue to the new employee 
a book of rules and information — if possible with the rules 
not rigidly set down, but reading right along as an integral 
part of the general information — and give him a tour of the 
plant, or at least that part of it pertinent to an understand- 
ing of his work. After that, you can build your other courses 
to fit your needs through a variety of indoctrinations. All of 
them are to identify the worker with the company. 

Specific Training Courses for New Employees. — Getting 
down to cases: now you have your new employee, what are 
you going to do with him? You will either give him pre- 
placement training or training on the job if he needs any 
training at all. Which you give depends upon the opera- 
tion. Certainly the young salesperson in a department store 
will not get the same type of training as the man going to a 
strange machine in the thread grinding department. 

In the orientation course the program will consist of lec- 
tures, aside from a plant tour. These lectures can merge into 


the preplacement training where, for those who will join a 
large sales staff or service staff, the schoolroom recitation 
method can best be used. In the main, these employees are 
young enough to be still habituated to schoolroom discipline 
and procedure. They have not the maturity which is needed 
for the conference method of instruction. For new em- 
ployees who are bound for the plant, instruction requires 
equipment that duplicates that used in production. It is 
about the same as that given in a vocational high school, 
except that it concentrates on a single phase or perhaps a 
single element of a manufacturing process. 

You may skimp your white-collar preplacement training 
if need be, but you should not skimp your shop training. 
From the latter course the employee should go to his job 
with knowledge that makes him a good worker immediately. 
He must be able to protect himself and others against acci- 
dent, as far as training makes it humanly possible, and to 
turn out a fair amount of work without spoilage. 

For both types of workers the instruction should give not 
only facility on the placement job but also what general 
learning can be absorbed quickly about general store or shop 
practice. This makes for a better oriented employee and for 
smoother progress when there is later opportunity for step- 
up training. 

Probably you will not come into an organization where 
there are apprentices indentured to management. If there 
are apprentices in the shop, as the result of union selection 
and placement, you have no obligations other than those for 
which you account for all other employees, mostly those in 
the welfare program. When you take over or establish a per- 
sonnel department and find that you have any apprentices as 
a company responsibility, be sure that you know exactly 
what the company is pledged to do during the bound-out 
period to make an apprentice a journeyman. Then, if you 
can, take over the watch and ward. When it comes to ap- 
prentices, I think a personnel director stands somewhat in 
loco parentis to see that the promises of training are being 



faithfully observed. What can happen, unless there is watch 
kept, is that the apprentice may be set to do jobs that have 
nothing to do with learning his trade. This wastes his time. 

Your work with and for apprentices will be simplified and 
bettered if they are employed under the National Apprentice 
Training Plan. This has been worked out under the direc- 
tion of the Federal Committee on iVpprentice Training. The 
plan provides for both work and schooling. Instruction is 
not left to caprice, and the apprentice can finish the course 
ahead of the customary time provided he develops ability 
rapidly and works steadily at his tasks. He is learning a 
trade and so goes from machine to machine or from process 
to process, whereas preplacement training or training on the 
job is definitely designed to get the worker to one counter, 
desk, or bench as soon as possible. 

Any training courses for college graduates carry beyond 
the vestibule period. If you have such a program in mind, 
first determine what you have to offer, why the college grad- 
uate should start his career with you, what future you can 
offer him, and what training you can give him. Then your 
work begins with the search for likely material among col- 
lege senior classes. This is easier for a personnel director 
representing an organization offering opportunities for 
young men getting a technological education or a large re- 
tail store with a reputation for advanced merchandising 

The college graduate is a student on a plant or store level, 
as distinguished from the apprentice who is on a single-trade 
level. He moves faster than the apprentice ; but of course 
he should because of his educational background. Like the 
apprentice, he learns to do by doing, but he can stand and 
should have a greater amount of schooling than the appren- 
tice — but schooling of an advanced nature. 

Training for the Job on the Job. — Where the turnover 
is not great enough to assemble classes economically for pre- 
plan t training, the new employee must be trained for the job 
on the job. To the personnel director, this training is not so 


satisfactory. He cannot lay out pertinent courses of instruc- 
tion. He cannot have close supervision. 

Yet the personnel director cannot refuse responsibility for 
the progress of the neophyte. All he can do is to send a 
trained representative occasionally to observe and report. 
For the rest he must deal through such instructors as the 
worker's department provides. Therefore from a plant- wide 
view, instruction is uneven, at the mercy too often of trainers 
who may be excellent workers themselves but without gifts 
for teaching. They and fellow workers are often impatient 
with the learner because paying attention to him slows pro- 
duction by upsetting routine. The work suffers and the 
morale of the new worker suffers. 

Since a retail store of moderate size cannot reproduce all 
its sales and service activities in miniature, training for the 
job on the job is not only indicated but obligatory. The 
same is true of an industrial plant doing what the business 
titans call "small business." Differences in methods are 
dictated by the goals to be reached. The retail store has a 
variety of things that must be learned because of public 
relations contacts, diversified stock, and multiple sales oper- 
ations. The new employee in the factory has been hired for 
one piece of work, often simplified by the industrial engineer 
until it is a repetitive operation that, once learned, is learned 
for the duration of the job. 

In whipping new elements of a regiment into shape for 
military service the colonel depends upon his lieutenant colo- 
nel to see that the day-to-day training schedule is followed. 
Just so the foreman of a sizeable department usually de- 
pends upon an assistant to watch over the training of a new 
worker. As the colonel has to busy himself with problems 
brought him by his adjutant, his supply officer, his com- 
munications officer, and others, to say nothing of his orders 
from brigade headquarters, so the foreman has on his shoul- 
ders the management of his division or section. He must 
delegate training with such occasional observation and di- 
rection as his time will permit. 


The personnel director has a direct part to play in this 
training. First, if it can be done — and it should be — the de- 
partment employee who is doing the training should have 
had group instruction in how to teach. Second, the person- 
nel director should have time to visit the new employee on 
the job. This is reassuring to the worker. He discovers that 
he is not the forgotten man. Somebody cares. The visit 
gives the worker the opportunity to talk to a friendly, sym- 
pathetic outsider who he believes has power to help him. 
This visit to the department also gives the personnel director 
opportunity to talk to the foreman and the trainer. If there 
are any difficulties, there they are at close range, person- 
alized, not to be treated as an abstract equation in a remote 

The Part the Sponsor Plays. — Selection of a sponsor is a 
joint responsibility of the head of the department and the 
personnel director. The former makes the original choice> 
with the latter having the power of veto. If the sponsor is 
accepted, then the personnel department provides his train- 
ing. As a prerequisite, the sponsor, of course, comes with a 
technical knowledge of the job expected of an excellent work- 
man. The training consists of a course in specific method- 
ology, the order in which the various elements of the job are 
to be imparted, the speed to be maintained as a schedule, 
and a knowledge of company policy, rules, and welfare bene- 
fits, supplementing whatever the personnel department has 
already explained at the threshold. 

In some stores and industrial plants the new worker at 
once steps over the threshold from the personnel department 
to his department, there to become the charge of his sponsor. 
Thus it is the sponsor who acquaints him with the geogra- 
phy of his new world, the place where he is to work, the con- 
tiguous departments necessary for him to know, the stock 
room, the locker room, the cafeteria, the clubroom, the rest 
room, and so on. 

Next, the sponsor gets to the job itself. Here is where he 
justifies his sponsorship. Whether behind the counter or at 


the bench, the real work with the new employee now begins. 
He must follow what has been outlined to him because it has 
been developed as the easiest and the best way to teach the 
job. Here is where the sponsor must always have in mind 
that "Slow and easy does it." The first goal is precision, 
accuracy, the proper motions. Speed is no desideratum un- 
til the way to do the job has become automatic. 

Necessarily here is where the sponsor does his best work in 
personnel relations. Not only must he be patient, kind, and 
friendly in guiding the new worker, but he has to exercise the 
same skill in fending off fellow workers when they find their 
own production slowed or their convenience disturbed. The 
new worker must be injected into production with the least 
possible friction, both physically and psychologically. The 
old workers must be induced to accept the new worker, let 
us hope, without knowing that the sponsor is a catalyst. 

Gradually the sponsor relaxes his vigilance ; gradually the 
new worker is more and more on his own. The time will 
come when the training period is at an end. The sponsor 
can go on to someone else. But for the first few weeks there 
should be occasional contacts. The worker may wish to turn 
to his sponsor to get himself set straight on something that 
may be bothering him. 


Later in this book there will be a whole chapter devoted 
to supervisors or foremen. However, some points on their 
training may well be considered here. 

If I took over a personnel department and were told I 
could have only one training course, I should instantly choose 
supervisor or foreman training. To me this is the most im- 
portant of all. Sometimes I speak of supervisor and some- 
times I speak of foreman, but always I mean the first link in 
the management chain which reaches, link by link, to the 
president and the chairman of the board of directors. 

I may go down fighting, but to the last I shall maintain 
that the foreman should not be in the ranks of labor as a 


union man. If he is placed there it is because management 
has been shortsighted and has not identified its foremen suf- 
ficiently with itself. Just telling a foreman to get something 
done is not enough. That is what the foreman has been 
telling the worker — to get something done — but it should 
not be enough any more, even for workers. 

Training foremen involves a two-pronged job for a per- 
sonnel director. In the first place, executives should be 
taught how to handle foremen. And in the second place, 
foremen should be taught how to handle workers — and ex- 
ecutives. To my mind, the most important part of this dual 
job is to increase a sense of responsibility through better per- 
sonnel relations. , We can presuppose that both executives 
and foremen have a good basic knowledge of how to handle 
physical things, either fabricating or selling. 

Right here let me say that in recent years foremen as a 
class have taken a beating they have not always deserved. 
They are pictured as strong, rough men who have come up 
the hard way, who know only rule-of-thumb production 
methods, and who get the work out by slave-driver methods. 
Of course that is not true of foremen as a class. They are 
just human beings who have good qualities and bad. They 
are too often harried from above and bedeviled from below. 
The wonder is that they do as good a job as they do with so 
little premeditated training. 

Up to now I have been talking about instruction on a 
classroom level. Whether in a group or singly, the relation- 
ship has been that of teacher and pupil. A different tech- 
nique is required in getting the best results with foremen. 
They form an adult group, supposedly with superior work 
knowledge and leadership qualities. To reach them on their 
pedestal of achievement, as you might say. experience has 
shown that you must choose the conference as the medium 
through which they can acquire more easily and more 
quickly a better understanding of the way to handle them- 
selves and the workers under them. 

Not every personnel director can be a good conference 


leader, any more than every good workman can be a good 
foreman. If you cannot take the time to learn how to con- 
duct a conference, delegate this important division of your 
work to someone who can. Nothing is more deadly dull than 
a poor conference. Nothing is more futile. You do not 
have to know more about production than the men seated 
around the table with you, you may not know so much, but 
you must have control of the meeting all the time and you 
must have skill to lead the discussion along the lines that 
develop the lesson you wish to drive home. 

Consequently, you must have worked up in advance your 
role of discussion leader. You should not do much talking 
yourself. Remember that you are dealing with a group of 
adults; do not "lecture." Your role is that of the inquiring 
philosopher who is inviting all shades of opinion in order 
that the group may arrive at a satisfactory operational syn- 

If you will turn on your radio some evening or on Sunday 
and listen to several good panel discussions, you can get a 
lot of pointers by noting how the moderator keeps the ideas 
flowing and how, by a question, he adroitly gets the next 
speaker back on the topic if someone has wandered. In your 
conference you have no more time to waste than has a split- 
second radio forum. You can safely keep your conference 
going for two hours if you can continuously increase interest. 

Outlining a training course of ten or twelve conferences and 
then running them off in five or six or ten or twelve consecu- 
tive days is not getting the maximum response from your 
foremen. They are not trained for that speed as are gradu- 
ate students who go for short, intensive summer courses at 
a university. Once a week, or better still semimonthly, is 
often enough for a meaty conference. Then the foremen 
have time to mull over what they have discussed, often they 
have had time to put into practice some of the things they 
have learned, before going on to something new. 

The only thing that would justify an intensive course 
crowded into a fortnight would be such a sudden plant ex- 


pansion that good workmen, on a chance they may make 
good foremen, are taken from the body of workers and hur- 
riedly trained to be foremen of the workers who must be 
hired to meet the unexpected demand for increased pro- 

Do not hold a conference if the group exceeds the number 
who can easily take part in the discussion. These men are 
untrained in debate, and the interest of a large group flags 
rapidly if one of them must "make a speech/"' W Tien the 
same man says the same thing conversationally to a group 
around a table, he may hold attention. When he doesn't, it 
is easier for the conference leader to break in with an obser- 
vation or a question, thus restoring the pace. 

Whatever the topic under discussion in any one of the 
group conferences, back of all of them is the theme: How 
can these foremen better their production? * (Safety confer- 
ences are something else again.) The research department 
can come in to tell better ways to handle things, but only 
the trained conference leader can get foremen to find better 
ways to handle people. You can standardize things rather 
easily compared to the effort required to standardize co- 
operation of people. 

The first meeting is a cautious affair because in a group 
gathered for a conference for the first time everyone is sizing 
up everyone else. To the conference leader, the foremen are 
revealing # their strengths and their weaknesses. They may 
show a range of feeling from the helpful to the hostile. 
These feelings must be taken into account and in some cases 
deftly countered, because you are dealing with emotion far 
more than with intellect when you organize. Xot only are 
the members sizing up each other; they are sizing up you. 
So you must know definitely what you are going to do and 
how you are going to do it. 

For the first meeting it is best to arrange an agenda that 
will not bring forth such spirited pros and cons that you 
will have to rule on them too firmly with the hope of keeping 
the conference going with light instead of heat. If you must 


call sharply for orderly procedure, the heat will still be there, 
suppressed, and it will scorch your good intentions and dam- 
age your conference. 

I cannot outline a training program for foremen for you. 
I do not know what your needs may be. All I can say is that 
the course must have management's approval and support. 
You can suggest the courses. Management must agree to 
them. If it does not at first agree, then it is up to you to sell 
your plan on the basis that you are saving money or making 
more money by getting better production. Certainly in your 
program there must be early discussions of "How to be a 
foreman" — meaning how a foreman best gets along with 
workmen, how to get them to respect his knowledge and his 
skill, and how to treat them in order to have them respect 
him as a leader. Those things make for teamwork. And 
teamwork does not come from telling a foreman what to do. 
That would be too easy. He learns teamwork through a 
conference, in the give-and-take with other foremen. 

The program should have a place also for discussions that 
show the foreman he is really a personnel director in his own 
department. If he does a good job, his workers will not have 
to run to the central personnel department with grievances 
or requests for a transfer or to a shop steward or to a griev- 
ance committee. There should be a discussion on how to 
train employees on the general rules, on training new em- 
ployees, on training for upgrading old employees. Since 
every foreman has to have some kind of office where he 
makes out and keeps various records, a conference should 
help him learn how to run his office as painlessly as possible. 
Heaven knows that office work is a bugaboo to many a fore- 
man up from the ranks. 

I believe in special conferences for foremen on safety. It 
may be touched on in a program of conferences, but it is so 
important in many plants that it should be pointed up by 
being a separate program, with meetings at regular intervals. 

The usual method of handling a conference is for the 
leader to toss in a question and let the group worry it from 


all sides, hoping for the same enthusiasm a puppy displays 
in worrying a rubber ball. If the hope is not justified, then 
he will have to take the question up from other angles until 
the ball starts rolling. 

The case method also works very well in such conferences. 
This is a statement of a hypothetic case (discussing a real 
case in your plant might get you into hot water) which will 
require some executive skill in untangling. After outlining 
it to the group, you fish for the solution with, "What should 
the foreman do to straighten out the matter?" Out of the 
discussion should come the proper answer. Always present 
a case that is not too elementary. The purpose of the dis- 
cussion is to learn, and if the foremen know the answer right 
away, they have not learned anything. 

Training Executives. — This is a hot potato for a new per- 
sonnel director, whether he establishes a new department or 
comes from the outside to an old one. He will have to have 
personality and power, to say nothing of ability, if, after 
selling the idea to management, he can put over a training 
course for senior executives. He will have more scope and 
success with a training course for junior executives than he 
can ever have with the seniors. * 

Perhaps the only way for a new man to handle a training 
course for senior executives is to act only as booking agent 
for lecturers who have such an unquestionable background 
of authority that senior executives will listen to them. The 
trouble is that in an organization of the restricted size we 
have in mind management may feel that there are not 
enough senior executives to warrant such a program. The 
president of the company has them reporting to him contin- 
uously, and he probably will believe that he can put over 
through personal contacts the points that should be made. 
Of course he can, but as any seasoned personnel director will 
tell you, too often he doesn't. When it comes to presidents 
of companies, I am a pessimist. In effect, they say to their 
senior executives too often when it comes to personnel rela- 
tions, "It's your department; you run it." 


For many years I have been dealing with bosses. Some- 
times I wish I could have the frankness of James Joyce, who, 
when he was little known, went to Dublin where he met 
William Butler Yeats, then already world famous. Joyce 
looked at the poet and said, "I've met you too late to do you 
any good." That is what I have wanted to say to many a 
boss. Maybe I shall yet. 

I remember old Adoniram McNutt. I once was in his of- 
fice when he was getting a report from one of his good men, 
who said earnestly, "1 think we should do .thus and so." 
Whereupon the old dyspeptic snapped, "You just give me 
the facts and I'll do the thinking." No personnel confer- 
ences could make a dent in Adoniram. You can't teach an 
old dog new tricks. 

You get somewhere with a training course for junior ex- 
ecutives. They are on the way up and are eager for every 
aid. They are the ones you can get into conferences. They 
can also stand some lectures. You can even give them 
"home work." 

Your junior executives can turn in papers too, and you 
can rate them for your own information. As for examina- 
tions, I don't believe in them for the total answer. A chap 
might make 100 per cent on an examination, and yet that 
can have only partial weight in studying a group of young 
men to pick one for advancement. 

Training of junior executives has many of the plant- wide 
features of instruction that has been outlined for the group 
of college graduates you may take on. The training for ex- 
ecutives may offer more courses, a supplement to cover cer- 
tain studies which the young men and women fresh from 
college already have behind them, for instance, business ad- 
ministration. Particular attention should be paid to the 
juniors who have grown up from messengers and office boys. 
It is good for plant and office morale for them to have ad- 
vancement through company recognition. It's the old story 
of the private who may have a marshal's baton in his knap- 


You can give your junior executives big doses of person- 
nel training. Then when they come to positions of author- 
ity, they will be the personnel department's allies. They 
will know what such a department can do when it is not 
running under wraps. 

Everything the employees do in a business or industry 
can be the subject of training investigation or practice on 
the part of some of your junior executives. They should 
have a better course, a more intensive one, than employees 
have had, on company policy, history, products, outstanding 
men past and present. Horatio Alger, Jr. ? Why not ? Pol- 
ish up your juniors on public contacts and teach them how 
to conduct such courses within their departments if their 
people meet the public. 

When it comes to courses on salesmanship, throw your 
junior executives in with a group of salesmen, whether they 
are taking beginner or refresher courses. Here is a good 
place to try out the best of them as conference leaders. They 
will have to learn some day. Even if a young executive is 
never going into the sales department for a career, he should 
know its problems and how they are being met. And I can- 
not reiterate too often that in these training courses you 
should never miss a chance to stress that the best possible 
personnel relations make for the best possible production 
records and sales records. 

Step-up and Refresher Courses. — Many a worker, many 
an executive, goes to management and says, "The place above 
me is vacant. I should like to have it." And he is stumped 
and sunk by failing to answer this question, "If we give it to 
you, how can you do the work better than the man who has 
had the job?" 

An answer must be made. It will be a good answer if the 
man has had training that made him look ahead to a step-up 
and has profited by it. If he fails miserably, the fault may 
not be altogether his. Management may be somewhat at 

Management should always be concerned about who will 


follow whom. That is the purpose of the step-up course. It 
is in addition to that training on the job, that striving for 
perfection, that an executive (down to the grade of fore- 
man, especially foremen) gives those under him. On the job 
is itself continuous training, but more is needed to give the 
leader's viewpoint. The step-up course is the answer. It is 
a scheduled program intentionally operated to qualify for 
the next higher opening. It should be given on company 
time. Some companies have training outside hours of work 
to ensure the interest and the earnestness of those taking the 

The refresher course is just that. It is to put employees 
on their mettle, to acquaint them with the latest develop- 
ments, to give them a new mark to shoot at, to keep them on 
their toes. In this class you may put the demonstrations 
and lectures which manufacturers provide for a sales staff of 
a retail store. And let me say some of the dreariest talks I 
have ever agonized through have been given to tired, listless 
salespersons by untrained, prosy, well-meaning men and 
women sent out by the manufacturer to push his goods. 
Dale Carnegie still has a lot of people to influence — to get 
them to study to influence people. 

It goes without saying that presumptively every worker 
newly hired is a candidate for training. There may even be 
a better way to handle a shovel than the worker knows. 
When it comes to the question, "Who already employed 
shall be trained for advancement?" that is another matter. 
Here there is comparative evaluation and selection. Train- 
ing off the job of those with service records is definitely a 
personnel function, but those to be trained are definitely 
selected by management. The personnel director may well 
join in consultations, helping to review available records and 
perhaps being able to supply an essential background his- 
tory, but the foreman or executive over the employee in- 
volved has all the unrecorded facts about job attitudes. The 
responsibility after consultation still must be his. That 
seems to me a good general rule. 


Health- and Safety-Training Programs. — There is a never- 
ending, never-slackening obligation upon the personnel de- 
partment to protect health and to prevent or minimize ac- 
cidents. These two programs demand teamwork. They 
cannot get anywhere without the authority and insistence of 
the medical department and the good will and cooperation of 
the maintenance department. The personnel department is 
the coordinator and the supervisor of plans-in-work. 

The minute you think of it. you realize that these pro- 
grams are more than training programs. Here we shall con- 
sider only the training aspects. General health education, 
training, can best be done through the company magazine or 
plant paper, through bulletin boards and the distribution of 
thro wa way printed matter. Through these, everyone on the 
pay roll can be a target for the general medical advice which 
will be more preventive than curative. How to avoid the 
common cold, what number of salt pellets are safe to take 
in very hot weather, procedure in case of accident to oneself 
or a fellow employee. Where a situation suddenly may be 
dangerous to employees of one department, the medical di- 
rector or a qualified assistant can address directly the group 
needing better understanding. 

You can outline a lecture or several lectures for the medi- 
cal department when you hold training courses for foremen. 
Included can be both health and safety information neces- 
sary for these group leaders to know and in many cases to 
pass on to those under them. 

Safety Gets the Play. — Safety training often bulks larger 
than health training as a personnel department activity. 
Three reasons are obvious. A man who has a slight machine 
accident that keeps him off his productive stride for three 
days is there with his bandage on for all to see. He has pub- 
licity and sympathy. A man at the next machine may be 
out for a week with a heavy cold. That's that. Xo hulla- 
baloo is made over him. The second reason is that the com- 
pany sees itself saving money in less lost time when there are 
fewer accidents. An accident report stirs up more excite- 


ment than a health report. The third reason is the insist- 
ence of accident insurance companies upon safety programs. 
These include employee and supervisory training. The 
plants go for safety committees because their insurance rate 
drops some points where there is successful organized safety 

I must say that where the possibilities of an accident are 
very slight indeed the safety committee can be pretty much 
of a phony, lulled into security by the low incidence of acci- 
dents. Where all the safety gadgets are installed and work- 
ing, it is pretty hard for a committee to whip up interest, 
since there appears no reason for it. This seems to me a 
callous attitude. If you find it, do what you can to change it. 

Where there is much machinery in a plant, with conse- 
quent industrial fatigue or only the hypnosis of dull repeti- 
tion, you must be ever vigilant. A safety program saves 
lives and limbs and the company's money. Do not have any 
operational training, at the threshold or as a refresher, which 
does not include some talk or demonstration on safety. The 
safety engineer from your accident insurance company can 
help you here. If you have not yet found your way about in 
matters of safety, get in touch with the National Safety 
Council. It will pay you to do so. 

Training for safety is always along the lines of training 
for health — making employees think — only it is more inten- 
sive. There is the same type of education through the plant 
newspaper, posters for bulletin boards, and throwaways in 
pay envelopes. There may be group lectures or demonstra- 
tions on the job where necessary. The conference method 
of training foremen is better than lecturing. 

This is one place where I can agree that a contest between 
departments or plants or day and night shifts can do good. 
Ordinarily, I don't like contests where people push them- 
selves too hard or too long. But here, enthusiasm, competi- 
tive scoring, alertness for life saving, eye saving, arm saving. 

Public Contacts. — No matter how few of your employees 


meet the public, you must have some sort of training that 
makes these workers careful to deal with the public patiently, 
courteously, and efficiently. The importance of such train- 
ing increases with the proportionate number "out front" un- 
til you reach the maximum in the public service corpora- 
tion selling transportation and the retail department store. 

Naturally a big retail store will have a customer relations 
course when the employee enters the sales department. It 
is also a required course in any kind of salesmanship pro- 
gram. Your receptionists and telephone operators or any- 
one else who uses a telephone can profit by such training. 
For one thing, the course should teach one how to "take it" 
without feeling personally insulted when a disappointed vis- 
itor or a telephone maniac resorts to profanity for emphasis. 
I have known young women to go into hysterics when, repre- 
senting the company, they were bawled out for not making 
delivery or for refusing to take an order when already over- 
sold on an item. They should have had training in order to 
be a duck's back for such bilge water. 

If suddenly you must put on a campaign of courtesy and 
your number of employees to be coached in public contacts 
is large, you will have to give the message to them in two 
steps. Supervisors will have to be trained through confer- 
ences, and they in turn will have to hold conferences with 
those below them. If you get everybody together for a meet- 
ing, make it snappy. Humor never hurts ; it helps. If there 
is a good motion picture which covers your situation, get it 
for the meeting. • 

Even in a conference dramatize the right and the wrong 
way to handle specific cases. A fervent personnel director 
may even write a sketch covering the situation and have 
members of his dramatic club act it before the conference. 
Then have the conferees bring out the points as they saw 

How many conferences you will need in a public relations 
instruction campaign only you can tell. The number will 
depend on how much information you have to put over and 


the ability of your employees to assimilate it. Be patient. 
Have in mind the homes your pupils come from. Yet I have 
seen girls who looked as if they had been carefully reared 
running combs through their hair while standing behind food 
counters. They affront me as much as waiters in cheap res- 
taurants who shuffle about with napkins under their arms. 

Who Shall Teach? — "Those who can, do; those who can't, 
teach.'' That old saying slanders thousands of excellent 
persons who have the rare gift of imparting knowledge. Un- 
fortunately, there are hundreds of thousands who have the 
teacher's ruler but not the teacher's rule. So the personnel 
director must exercise care in providing teachers from within 
and without his organization. Perhaps you will have to go 
by the trial-and-error method in choosing fellow workers or 
executives to teach or to hold conferences. 

Where teachers come from outside, some personnel direc- 
tors believe that a grammar-school or a high-school teacher 
is the best person one can choose. I will go along with them 
part way. Such a teacher is all right for the young or the im- 
mature where the instruction is classroom work. For adults 
I prefer a teacher who has dealt with adults. Perhaps the 
ideal would be a mature person whose experience has been 
on a college level, and here I would choose someone who had 
been on the faculty of a teachers' college. In such colleges 
the career students have the intensity and the earnestness 
which you have a right to expect of adult workers who see 
that they can get sugar or honey on their bread and butter 
only by taking the training courses. 

Some stores and plants are so located that they can call 
on a state university or other institution of higher learning 
for extension lectures. They are fortunate. In the larger 
cities interested workers can find many courses which will 
help them to do better work or to train for step-ups. Should 
your company pay their tuition fees? Certainly not in ad- 
vance. Some firms make a practice of paying the fee, or half 
of it, upon the successful completion of the course. It all 
depends upon your over-all policy of education. Perhaps it 


depends on whether — not now speaking altruistically — you 
can find another qualified worker at less expense than it will 
cost you to send a man or a woman to school. 

You have to explain to a worker that completing a course 
does not automatically bring advancement. He is still in 
competition with others in his department. When the time 
comes for objective selection, this training course will be con- 
sidered as one of several weighted factors. At that, a fellow 
worker may have greater native intelligence and may exer- 
cise a greater skill with only plant training. Choice of the 
latter for promotion brings bitter disappointment to the one 
who had completed a course. 

Some of my toughest moments have been those when I 
have had to explain to the holder of an enscrolled diploma 
from a jerkwater correspondence school that what the paper 
certifies is more than the school delivered, more than the 
school could deliver. Some freak might memorize all the 
formulas of the calculus of variations and of spherical har- 
monics, but that would not make him a mathematician. 

Training Must Pay Its Way. — The personnel director has 
to do more than convince management that what he will be 
allowed to spend for training will bring a return of the money 
spent. He will have to prepare for the day when the Big 
Boss will call on him to convince management that the 
money spent has more than reproduced itself. Where he has 
a budget of $6,000, he must show a return of at least $6,001. 
If the personnel director has to put too many intangibles 
into his report, he will have to be a master of dialectics to 
get himself on the right side of the ledger. 



Employees may be unhappy about promotion or the lack 
of it, about recognition or the lack of it, but most often they 
are unhappy about money and the lack of it. Somewhere I 
have written that employees often put status, pride of place, 
security, or work companionship ahead of money. That is 
true. But when they get unhappy about money, they go all 

When you think of employees and money matters, you 
think of more than salary or wages. You think too of the 
sudden need for money, of increases and bonuses, of pensions 
and severance pay, of all the situations the employee thinks 
money can alleviate or cure. 

Both management and labor are deeply interested in. the 
company pay roll — management to keep it down, labor to 
get it higher and higher per worker per hour. So there you 
have the seesaw, with the personnel director often feeling 
that he is the fulcrum on which it teeters and totters with 
a deadly weight. 

It is the part of efficient management to probe here and 
analyze there to see where a saving can be made. The 
searches for savings include pressure on the personnel direc- 
tor to provide better grades of employees, meaning em- 
ployees who will produce more units at a given wage. All 
this is expected, and a personnel man can agree heartily 
with such a program and do his best to carry it out. He can 
have no misgivings unless the wage scale is so low that his 
knowledge of the field leads him to conclude that the com- 
pany is grinding the faces of the poor. In that case he should 
speak up. 



It should be the aim of every company to deserve the pub- 
lic's patronage by at least paying wages equal to those paid 
by other industries in the area, according to the skill the jobs 
demand. If it can pay more, God bless it ! 

The worker is vitally interested in his share of the pay roll 
because that is his life's blood. All he has to sell is his time 
and his brawn or his brain. Whether he is a day laborer or a 
high-salaried executive, the problem is economically the 
same : to sell as dearly as he can. Of course, the day laborers 
and workers in several grades above them are more desper- 
ately concerned than those in the higher brackets because 
their wages are too often all that stand between them and 
penury, between them and state or private charity in a few 
weeks. The worker wishes (and I think should have) a sav- 
ing wage, not merely a subsistence wage. 

What the Worker Wants. — Once upon a time an impor- 
tant representative of capital said in the course of a wage 
dispute that he was willing to see that the workers were paid 
a fair subsistence wage. I have always been sympathetic to 
the answer made to that offer. "We don't want merely a 
'fair subsistence' wage. We want a wage that will buy us 
some leisure as well and permit us to put aside something for 
our children's higher education and our old age." That is 
fair enough. 

For most workers that ideal wage has not yet been reached. 
Perhaps the realization that it is so far in the future is why 
the state has stepped in with Social Security. As yet it has 
not a broad enough base, but it will have. As for higher 
education, it is already evident that the state is going to do 
something about that too for all who have capacity to profit 
by it. It should. 

This is as good a place as any to say exactly what I think 
about large employers who chisel on the families of some of 
their employees. That is exactly what I mean. Let me ex- 
plain. An explanation in one category will serve for all. 
The figures I give are not those of today because both wages 
and prices have advanced since these statistics were pub- 


lished. However, for the sake of the present illustration they 
are still valid as ratios of earnings to living expenses. 

State labor departments compile cost-of-living standards. 
Employers know what they are. Here is a quotation: "It 
takes $1,205.49 a year for the average New York City woman 
worker who is a member of a family group to maintain an 
adequate living standard, according to figures compiled by 
the State Department of Labor." And again: "The report 
indicated that from previous surveys at least 10 per cent 
would have to be added for women living in furnished rooms 
and eating in restaurants." I think it means that a big em- 
ployer who pays a woman living at home $1,205 a year is 
chiseling 10 per cent of her salary from the family group. 
You cannot convince me that it is not chiseling. 

Add 10 per cent and you have $1,325.50. That comes out 
$25.49 a week for a woman living in a furnished room and 
eating in a restaurant. (And how can she do it?) Well,, 
where an employer rates a job at $20 a week, I say he is 
either chiseling on the family to the extent of $5.49 ($285.48 
a year) or else the woman must reduce her living standard 
more than 20 per cent below what the New York State Labor 
Department says is an "adequate living standard." There 
ought to be a law ! 

Any big employer who, to stay in business, must chisel 20 
per cent from those underpaid workers ought not to be in 
business. I can make it worse, if you wish, by giving you 
the minimum budget of a New York business girl as set up 
by the Department of Women in Women in Industry and 
Minimum Wage and quoted by Miss Lilian Sharpley, chair- 
man of the National Business and Professional Staff of the 
Y.W.C.A. The weekly minimum is $28.50. There you have 
an employer chiseling $8.50, if he pays $20. 

Well, it turns out that I am not even a mediocre business 
economist for believing that it is chiseling. I buttonholed a 
good economist and told him just what I had written. He 
shook his head. 

"Chiseling on the family breadwinner?" he said. "No. 


The economic law of supply and demand cannot be negated 
just because you have a kind heart. If every woman had to 
be paid $25 a week, there would be a great deal of unem- 
ployment because so many employers could not pay that 
wage. Instead of getting $25 a week, a nonfamilial woman 
would have to go on relief, getting only $11 or $12 a week — 
and the taxpayers would have to pay her relief check!" 

I couldn't squeeze any comfort out of that, but I got a 
grain or two when he went on to say, "Of course, where you 
get a big employer who is sensitive to public opinion, you 
will- find him paying the minimum wage. His operation is 
such that he cannot afford to let the community know that 
he is below the publicized decency level." 

"Good for public opinion," said I. "Let's have more of it." 

When I was a newspaper reporter — that was many,, many 
years ago — the only time I ever was burnt up yet could not 
permit myself the luxury of calling a man a so-and-so was 
in Kansas City. I had gone down to interview some old 
windbag who was an official of a trust company. He droned 
on and on about the beauty of labor conditions in South- 
ern mills. The climax came when he told me how proud a 
little boy could be when pay day came and he could carry 
home to his mother his week's wages — fifty cents! And 
that is where I almost burst a blood vessel by restraining 

Reminiscing about wages brings me to the time Henry 
Ford announced that he would raise the wages of the lowest 
groups on his pay roll to $5 a day. I happened to be in De- 
troit that spring doing a special job for another automobile 
manufacturer. It was the spring the "Lusitania" was sunk. 
Well, sir, when Henry Ford made that announcement, you 
never heard such screams of rage, such imprecations, such 
anathemas as the other automobile manufacturers let loose. 
I was there. I heard some of the executives talk, and I 
heard reports about what many others said. The kindest 
thing they said was that Henry Ford was crazy. He was 
regarded as the desecrator of the shrines of the Founding 


Fathers, a Moloch with the mind of a midge, a Baal of Busi- 
ness. In other words, they didn't like him. 

"Pay $5 a day to a man for wielding a broom!" They 
even said that the laboring man himself would not like the 
Ford scale. As I left Detroit soon after, I don't know the 
consequent ins and outs of the great commotion, but I sup- 
pose that after a time everyone else in the automotive in- 
dustry paid $5 a day to the men who wielded brooms. I 
hope so. If they did, they reacted to competition and to 
what my economist friend calls being "sensitive to public 
opinion." Would that more employers were more sensitive! 
' Getting back to the employers who, I still say, chisel by 
paying wages below the Department of Labor standard for 
women (and below the standard for men, too, for that mat- 
ter) , if any employer who is big enough to hire several hun- 
dred of them at substandard wages wishes to defend this 
practice, let him write me a letter and I shall try to get it into 
the next edition of this book. If he convinces me, he will 
be a wonder. He can talk all he wishes about the law of 
supply and demand, about marginal utility, about marginal 
productivity, about functional distribution, and about per- 
sonal distribution. He will leave me cold. I have heard all 
that from the economist. He must talk to me in terms of 
flesh and blood, in terms of sanity and civilization. I hope 
he also talks to me in the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount. 
But I don't see how he can. 


Whether you join a personnel department or start one for 
your company, you will find wage rates and salary scales al- 
ready established. Your concern will be in relation to the 
changes in rates and scales. The battle over changes is un- 
ending. Even before the ink on a contract is dry, there 
begins the storing of ammunition for negotiations preceding 
the next contract. You also have on your neck the employees 
exempt from contract who make management a target at 
any time. Finally, you have the employees who have reached 


the maximum under contract and have the right — at almost 
any time — to put in a plea for a merit increase. 

You know the various ways to measure compensation of 
workers, but let me review them briefly. You pay for land 
in the form of rent, for capital in the form of interest or divi- 
dends, for the services of labor in the form of wages. This 
labor is anything that is a productive activity, whether in 
the office or shop, whether by a high-salaried executive or a 
day worker. Except for personal services, whether by doc- 
tor, lawyer, chiropodist, or other, labor services have some 
definite relation to goods produced. 

There are straight-time wages (here you have salaries), 
piece-rate wages, and wages according to various plans that 
have been contrived to increase the worker's production by 
some special incentive. All these ways of compensating the 
worker have good points and bad points. 

Time Wages. — Time wages are easy to calculate. They 
make the least trouble for the pay-roll department. The em- 
ployee knows what he will get at the end of the full work 
week. He can calculate his expenses and his savings in ac- 
cordance with his pay envelope or salary check. The method 
is satisfactory to the run-of-the-mine worker and particu- 
larly so to the worker whose output is substandard. Both 
can paddle down the stream of production pleasantly, and 
the substandard fellow may even be floated along part of the 
time. You can see that time wages thus can be a drag on 
the exceptional worker. 

The union likes time wages, whether calculated by hour, 
day, week, or month. It simplifies bargaining. It is all- 
embracing, and the union is interested first and most in 
man in the mass. It is quite willing to hold down the pro- 
duction speed of the exceptional worker since that speed may 
"show up" others. So both the ordinary workman and his 
union like the time wage. To repeat : It offers no incentive 
to the exceptional workman. 

Time wages require the employer to pay more for super- 
vision. Usually he gets slower work. If he gets better work. 


it can be credited both to the lack of haste which may allow 
pride in the work to bear fruit and to the closer supervision. 
It would be hard for the employer to have any other plan of 
recompense for the majority of his office workers. The extra 
expense foisted on management in the shop by time wages 
appears in uneven production. The valleys on the produc- 
tion chart show the slow workers. They are the expensive 
workers. All that can be done is to strike an average and set 
down a figure that sometimes is only a qualified guess when 
it comes to adding the factors to get the selling price of the 
fabricated product. 

It is in stimulating time-wage workers that a personnel 
director can do some of his finest work. Every resource he 
calls into play to build morale and make the workers a will- 
ing team will be reflected in output. Good tools, good light 
and air, suitable surroundings, recognition of work well done, 
fair hope for advancement, even music and off- the- job ac- 
tivities — all the things that build morale help develop a 
rhythm of work that spells greater production. 

Piece-rate Wages. — Piece-rate wages give the exceptional 
worker his field day — if the base for the average worker is a 
fair one. By definition, if he is exceptional, he is far better 
than average. The extra units of production represent his 
profit for innate capacity turned into unusual skill. 

The ideal production line is where the rate of pay is satis- 
factory, materials never fail to reach the worker, and all 
physical aids for fabricating are at hand and in order. Let 
any one of the three elements drop below the standard and 
you have trouble. There is trouble sometimes, and always 
suspicion, where workers are able to take these three ele- 
ments and "make too much money." There should still be a 
certain relationship of exceptional piece-rate wages to other 
wages in the industry and in the area. Where too many 
workers are making "too much," management can suspect 
with reason that the rate has been improperly set and the 
union can suspect that there will soon come a demand for a 
revaluation of the job. 


If there has to be a revaluation, you will have to bear some 
of the blame and annoyance if you were head of the person- 
nel department when the rate was set. This is a different 
case from the revaluation where the introduction of im- 
proved machinery or a better process makes possible ab- 
normally high production. At the old rate the worker is now 
getting all the benefit, and capital is not getting a return on 
its investment in the new machinery or other improvement. 
Since no one has ever figured out what capital or labor 
should get on a definite percentage basis, the renegotiation 
is a delicate one. At the conclusion, each side thinks, or at 
least vociferously announces, "We wuz robbed." Do not be 
disturbed by such outcries. While some are genuine, most 
of them are window dressing. And some negotiators yell 
just for the sake of yelling. 

Piece work discourages the slow worker. He takes the job, 
but after a few weeks he drifts away. So you will probably 
find that your median worker is above what would be the 
average if you were on a time-wage basis. But where you 
have a continuous turnover of good workers (and this ap- 
plies to time-wage workers too), you will have to investigate. 
There may be a morale reason, but more likely you will find 
that the job has been improperly evaluated. The pay is not 
commensurate with that for like work in your community. 

Getting More Money for the Job. — With regard to a time 
or seniority step-up, a worker can get more money for the 
job he is doing in one of several ways. He can benefit by 
being one of a category that is given an increase. He can get 
an individual increase, presumably on merit. He can benefit 
by being a member of a group that earns a bonus through 
the successful operation of an incentive plan. Or the plan 
may recognize and reward his individual skill and initiative. 

Where management, without consultation and as you 
might say out of a blue sky, grants an increase to an entire 
category of workers without changing working conditions or 
production demands, you have one way of getting an in- 
crease. This is so unusual that a worker who gets such an 


increase can well believe he has been cut a piece of the blue 
sky right out of the millennium. The usual category in- 
crease comes after union negotiations. Too often it is like 
pulling teeth to get it. If it is deserved, fine. If it is ob- 
tained only by the union throwing its weight around heed- 
less of others, not so fine. To be regarded as a true increase, 
there need not be additional take-home pay. A reduction of 
the work week from forty-five hours to forty hours with the 
same weekly wage is an increase. Ask the employer! 

This is a parenthetical paragraph. As long ago as 1860 
there was a man named Ira Smith, who was called "a zealot 
for the eight-hour day." He was cordially hated by em- 
ployers, no doubt, because at that time the usual hours of 
work were eleven or twelve a day — and for a six-day week. 
Comment is unnecessary. 

More Money for the Individual. — One of the toughest 
jobs for a personnel director is the discussion of the possi- 
bility of a merit increase with an individual employee. The 
director can be comparatively happy only if he is so fortu- 
nate as to have a comprehensive, honest rating policy which 
he can use in bolstering his position. Unfortunately, not 
enough employers have instituted any such method of in- 
dividual appraisal. Where it is properly installed, with la- 
bor and management in agreement on the value of the job 
and with periodic reviews of performance, the personnel di- 
rector has ammunition to use for or against the inquiring 
employee. Yet there can be a weakness in any rating plan 
because the supervisor may have done an incompetent job 
in rating an individual employee. This goes too for the 
head of the division who put his O.K. on the worker's rating 
sheet. I don't think this is very common where there has 
been an effort to be fair. Since unconscious bias would be 
general, you may be able to detect this weakness by com- 
paring department averages. 

Invariably when an employee gets to the personnel de- 
partment with a request for a merit increase, he has already 
been turned down by two grades of executives, his foreman 


and the division head. Now the personnel director is on the 
spot in trying to be helpful. The employee already has two 
strikes on him. The weight of the evidence is against the 
man. Where there has been a review of his work and it 
does not support a merit increase, the evidence is heavily 
presumptive. A frank discussion may bring the employee 
to agreement with the rating and make him resolve to do 
better. At a later date when his improvement has been 
noted as sustained, he can put in again for an increase. 
However, if he feels he should have an increase now, all you 
can do is to promise an investigation of his claims. Make it 

The really tough job is where there are no data on per- 
formance. Instead of a rating review you must deal largely 
with emotions. To say the least, they are unscientific and 
hard to direct into a quiet channel. At this first meeting 
you are not in a position to controvert the claim for an in- 
crease. The best thing to do is to take a leaf from the social 
worker's notebook on interviews : arouse no antagonism by 
opposition. In your acceptance try to draw out all the facts 
you can. Arrange for a second interview. In the interim 
get the other side of the controversy. Start with the depart- 
ment head. It may be better not to discuss the matter with 
the foreman. His superior should be able to tell his story. 
The department head is more objective. You can discuss 
the foreman as well as the worker with him. 

Even if you are convinced that the worker should have an 
increase, I warn you that you will have few victories in such 
campaigns. But not often will you be convinced. Em- 
ployees offer as reasons too many extraneous, irrelevant 
matters. There is no business reason, cold blooded or hot 
blooded, why a man should get more money for his work, 
when all he offers is a wife who has just had an operation 
or a sixth child. 

When the employee tells you that often there is not 
enough food on the table at home, you can't ring for your 
receptionist and say, "Show this man out ; he's breaking my 


heart." If he can't do any better on his present job, all you 
can do is to see if you can get him upgraded. Sometimes you 
can take over his finances if they are in a muddle, but I 
don't advise getting in so deeply. You can't lead other per- 
sons' lives for them. You shouldn't. 

One way to deal with an employee who is not worth more 
money to you and who you suspect is not worth more to any- 
one else is to send the man on a round of the hiring offices 
and employment agencies. He will either get a job or come 
back better contented with his present green pasture. 

Here is a situation I hear about occasionally and do not 
like: Say you have a scale for secretaries starting at $30 
with $2.50 increases annually up to $40. After that what a 
secretary gets as an increase is for "merit." Say you have to 
bid $35 to get a secretary. She starts on the job, does well, 
sees that she is doing as well as the higher rated secretaries, 
and in a few months inquires softly, "When do I get a raise?" 

You are bound by your company's rules. You say, "You 
see, you came in over the scale for a new secretary here. 
You are now paid as much as we pay secretaries at the start 
of their third year. So you are not due for an increase to 
$37.50 until the start of your fourth year." 

Fireworks ! 

I am on the secretary's side. There should be fireworks. 
She was too trusting. Before she signed on, she should have 
asked the company scale and policy. In fact, the personnel 
director should have told her. So she gets the news of the 
inflexible scale and quits. Serves your company right. But 
it is tough on her to have to look for another job. 

No, I Do Not Like Them. — There are wage scales that 
set increases for stated periods of service. What I do not like 
about some of them I have examined is that the period of 
waiting is too long, certainly between the beginning pay and 
the first increase. Suppose a worker is taken on in a minor 
clerical capacity at $27 a week, and the scale shows no in- 
crease for one year. Then it goes to $30. You can't tell me 
that the worker requires a year in which to acquire maxi- 


mum skill. If so, the job is worth more than the $27 to start, 
or the employee should have been released after a few weeks 
for incapacity. I think the increase over the beginning sal- 
ary should have come in at least six months. Thereafter, 
pay rises should be for length of service and for merit. 

More Pay for More Output. — There are a number of plans 
for rewarding workers for increased output. Some are easy 
to figure; others are highly intricate in their methods of 
scoring. I suppose each one has some special virtue of its 
own. Some are figured on a flat rate to be paid on any num- 
ber of units beyond the norm. Others have increasing pay- 
ments for increasing production groups of units beyond the 
norm. Some plans pay for time saved. And so on. Lack of 
space makes it impossible to discuss them here. 

There also are the bonus plans for salesmen. The largest 
group of persons engaged in selling is on a straight salary 
basis. Then comes the group which has quotas established. 
After the salesman's quota has been reached in any stated 
period, the bonus arrangement is in operation. This is per- 
haps the best method of rewarding superior sales ability, but 
as much care must be exercised in setting bonus remunera- 
tion as in setting the basic wage itself. Too small a bonus is 
no incentive. Too large a bonus is unfair to the store. 

Another plan is a basic wage with a commission on all 
sales. Necessarily this wage will be a little lower than where 
there is a bonus only after the quota has been reached. 
Where two stores in a related field have comparable sales- 
men, one store using one plan and the second using the 
other, the wages of the salesmen in the stores should work 
out not too far apart. If you are personnel director of a 
store that is paying a much lower over-all wage, whether 
according to one or the other method, you are going to find 
members of your sales force jumping to the other store when 
they can. 

Here is something you may expect. The salespersons of 
a department working on a bonus or commission basis may 
resent your adding to the staff, such as during a sale or other 


rush period, because that cuts down their opportunity for a 
greater bonus or more commissions. You can chalk this up 
as a store advantage because it puts the sales force on notice 
that it has to do a good job of handling customers with dis- 
patch as well as with the expected courtesy. So to prevent 
additions, each one will be alert, requiring less supervision 
than if on a straight salary. However, supervision cannot 
go by the board. 

Method of remuneration is a matter of policy, and the new 
personnel director must make himself acquainted with all 
the policy's implications and possibilities. Quotas, whether 
sales or production, must be reviewed frequently enough to 
take care of seasonal sales changes or manufacturing changes. 

A store has a set percentage relationship of sales expense 
to the selling price of the merchandise. I do not think that 
the store should set its bonus percentage lower than this 
established percentage on sales. If it is set lower in your 
store, ask your Big Boss why this is. If he tells you what I 
think he will, do not smile when he explains. 

A straight commission should not occasion a personnel de- 
partment any trouble. It is usually for outside salesmen and 
is an established method of payment in certain lines. Con- 
troversies are between sales managers and salesmen without 
benefit of the personnel department. When they are hot, 
they are very hot indeed. 

Beginners, Part Timers, and Emergency Workers. — Aside 
from the regular employees of an organization there are 
other categories. First, there are the beginners who get a 
lower wage than the regular scale. Call it a training wage. 
The lower rate of pay is justified because the production is 
below standard ; training and close supervision must be paid 
for ; and in some lines spoilage of material and even damage 
to equipment may also have to be taken into account. The 
training is either for a set period or until a required produc- 
tion can be maintained. 

Where there is a specified period of training, at the end 
there should be some type of examination or a timed period 


of production of standard quality to make sure that the be- 
ginner is entitled to the regular wage. If he cannot pass, 
then either you were at fault in selecting him for training, 
or your course of instruction has not been properly con- 
ducted. When the beginner learns on the job, in all fairness 
he must not be kept at a beginner's wage a single day after 
he meets standard production requirements. 

The part-time worker should be paid at least the rate of 
the full-time worker. By part-time worker I mean here the 
man or woman who works fewer hours than the work week 
but who has the same number of hours week after week. 
Where they later wish to work full time, they should have 
first call on the full-time jobs that come into your market. 
Different companies have different hourly points at which 
they set off the part-time worker from the full-time worker. 
This is because the latter is the beneficiary of certain em- 
ployee benefits. It may be that where there is a forty-hour 
standard, an employee who maintains a thirty-four- or 
thirty-six-hour work week is entitled to benefits the same as 
a forty-hour employee. 

Part-time workers on this regular schedule are for the 
most part found in retail stores. They are often women who 
have household responsibilities early and late in the day but 
who can go behind the counter during the day's shopping 

These part-time workers also should have personnel de- 
partment attention the same as full-time workers. Cer- 
tainly they should pass the medical examination. You have 
to ride herd particularly on the younger ones — messengers, 
office boys, cash girls — because you must see that they have 
their working papers and fulfil whatever requirements have 
been established by your city's school board. 

Then there are the occasional workers. You might call 
them emergency workers, because they come only to take 
care of something in the nature of a crisis — any situation 
which is unexpected and not covered by routine. An extra 
comptometer operator may be needed for a day or two to get 


out a rush report or a stenographer for a position that must 
be covered during an absence, as when there is a death in a 

Where a worker is called in for such a job, I personally 
believe that he, or more often she, should be paid a little 
above the scale. You should pay for the accommodation. 
Moreover, the worker usually comes from an agency and 
must pay a commission. Say your scale for stenographers 
is $5 a day. I think the emergency substitute should be 
paid $6 a day at least. 

Differentials in pay for the second and third shifts are 
matters not to be decided lightly. Where there are higher 
scales, the employer pays more for the same units of produc- 
tion. Yet in some cases this may be equalized somewhat by 
not having to fire up the next morning and in other ways get 
a sleeping plant into high gear. Also, the machinery is giv- 
ing more hours of work. 

Where shift differentials are not yet paid, certainly the 
growing demands indicate the trend. About the hardest 
thing to overcome is the "custom of the trade." For the sec- 
ond and third shifts it is objected that higher wages should 
not be paid "because we never have." That never struck 
me as a very good argument for anything. It is about like 
the plaint of the hillbilly, "My pappy never wore shoes, so 
why should I wear shoes?" 

Transfers and Promotions with Increases. — The person- 
nel meaning of "transfer" is shifting to another department. 
It is done without an appreciable increase of pay. Usually 
it is done because the worker is not happy where he is or the 
foreman is not happy to have him there. A "promotion" is 
changing to a better job in the same department or another 
one. That should mean more money at once or within a 
reasonable time. Where there are changes in remuneration, 
they are based on the pay scale in effect, and any transfer 
or promotion should occcasion the personnel director no diffi- 
culty except where the salary or wage angle is used by a 
disgruntled employee as a talking point. No worker will ob- 


ject to an increase. He can object to the small amount of 
the increase. 

If the employee has asked for a transfer, he should be so 
pleased at getting out of his old department that he can 
let an increase wait until he has demonstrated his ability to 
be worth it. If he has been thrown out of his old depart- 
ment, he should be pleased that he still has a job. If he is 
not pleased, he should quit. 

When an employee is advanced to a higher position, he 
should have more money, as has just been said, "within a 
reasonable time." Where this lag is decreed, it is because 
there is doubt about the ability of the employee to make 
good. If he is to be returned to his old job, he will not have 
to take a reduction in pay. 

Transfers to Jobs Paying Less Money. — One of the sad- 
dest days in the business world is the one when a conscien- 
tious executive must tell an old employee that he has slowed 
down so much that he must accept a less arduous job at less 
pay. Often the personnel director is the one to break the 
news. Loyalty to old workers and sentiment play a larger 
part in business relationships than many cynics admit, but 
such feelings cannot be allowed to break the back of a busi- 
ness. All of us know men and women who remain on the 
pay roll at their old wages or salaries; but, like kissing, such 
beneficence goes by favor. The favored workers had the 
good fortune to be so placed that they attracted the atten- 
tion and held the protective regard of someone or other 
highly placed in management. 

I am not so cold-blooded that I can advocate calling in a 
worker, telling him he has slowed down, and offering him a 
minor position at less money right now or else. It is hard 
enough for him to learn that his economic world is crashing 
without his having to plan for immediate financial readjust- 
ment. There are those who believe, and I with them, that 
the old employee should have his higher salary or wages 
continued for at least six months. He may have a lease that 
will be too expensive for him or a child or grandchild in col- 


lege whom he should support to the end of the college year. 
The company can afford to carry him that length of time. 
If it can afford it and does not do it, then it has iced water 
in its corporate veins instead of blood. 

Of course the company can give the man dismissal pay 
and let him go, but that would be pretty dirty pool, espe- 
cially if he were within a year or two of a pension. 

Profit-sharing Plans. — Where a company cannot meas- 
ure the results of the work of its individual employees by 
volume of sales or units of work, a general profit-sharing 
plan is indicated. Sometimes such a plan is the result of 
union pressure, but to date most of these plans have been 
inaugurated by forward-looking managements. Aside from 
management's feeling that employees should share in the 
prosperity they help to create is the realization that the plan 
makes for contentment, higher morale, more efficient opera- 
tion, and stability of employment. A true profit-sharing 
plan will not be one that can be used as a bludgeon to knock 
down regular salaries and wages. An offer of a substandard 
wage plus a profit-sharing plan is only a gambling device 
set up by a dishonest management. 

A good plan, to my way of thinking, is one that makes a 
payment at least quarterly. If a company pays dividends 
quarterly, it can pay employees their share of profits quar- 
terly. To wait for a year before there is a distribution means 
a letdown of interest, thus defeating the purpose for which 
management has instituted the plan. Profit sharing is most 
effective in those companies that make profits year after 

A profit-sharing plan "at the will of the board of trustees" 
is unsatisfactory if the employees can suspect that the 
trustees may change their "will" without notice and divert 
any funds already earmarked for sharing. In all honesty 
there should be a trustee to administer the profits under a 
definite declaration of trust set up for a definite period of 
time. This document is the employees' Bible and Magna 
Charta. It sets forth what percentage of the corporation's 


net operating earnings is to be set aside for profit sharing, 
how the fund is to be administered, on what basis distribu- 
tion is to be made in relation to the employees' salaries and 
wages, and the disposition of the money and securities on 
hand should profit sharing be discontinued under the provi- 
sions of the plan. 

An employee should share in the fund after having been 
on the pay roll for one year. All employees should share. 
It is not fair to make any distinction except between those 
who have served less than one year and the others whom we 
can well term "permanent employees." I favor payments 
in cash. If an employee wishes to buy stock in the com- 
pany, let him do so in a separate transaction. Whatever the 
company sets aside for the participants in. the plan should 
be divided in proportion to their salaries or wages. 

Stock Sales to Employees. — It is all right for a company 
to sell stock to its executives, but I would think twice be- 
fore recommending selling stock to the rank and file on an 
installment basis. There are too many bugs in the opera- 
tion. Even where the plan is clear to the company, the 
employee is at a disadvantage. He is not financially minded. 
I am thinking particularly of those plans where the em- 
ployee buys the stock, say, at $75. He may be told that the 
stock has a book value of $150. Then comes a financial bliz- 
zard in the stock market and his stock drops to $39. And he 
must keep on paying for his stock, if he wishes to protect 
his equity, until he has paid a total of $75. Don't tell me 
that his stock may then be worth $80. Just as likely it will 
be worth $42.25. 

Yet some companies have been successful in placing stock 
among their employees. I don't like special issues of stock 
for employees. I don't like plans that require you, a small- 
salaried employee or a wage earner, to sell back your stock 
to the company when you leave. Large-salaried employees 
know how to look out for themselves. I am interested in the 
little fellows. 

I hope you have come to the conclusion that I do not favor 


the sale of stock to employees. Let them buy it in the open 
market. If there is no open market, then in most cases they 
should not buy it anyway. 

Severance Pay. — In the old days an employee was fired 
and usually that was all there was to it. If the man was 
given a week's pay or two weeks' pay, management patted 
itself on the back and considered that it had been very, very 
humane. And it had been — according to business standards 
then prevailing. Through the years in many companies a 
developing social consciousness has broadened management's 
sense of responsibility. If you join a company that has no 
plan of severance pay, you should make the institution of 
some such plan one of your concerns. Everyone should have 
dismissal pay, except where dismissal is for one of four or 
five reasons; for example, gross insubordination, gross neg- 
lect of duty, dishonesty, or habitual drunkenness. 

It is not difficult to work out a severance-pay plan. What 
you give depends on what your company can afford. You 
may have few dismissals currently, but remember that the 
day may come when a whole department may be shut down. 
If it is full of old employees who cannot be transferred, the 
cash outlay with no material return for it may stagger the 

A week's pay for each full year of uninterrupted service 
may be fair for many companies. I know one company that 
pays in a lump sum a cash severance pay equal to two weeks' 
for each year of continuous and uninterrupted service. I 
consider that liberal indeed. I prefer to scale by the year 
instead of bracketing several years and paying the same 
amount to everyone in that bracket. 

The places where you run into trouble are those borderline 
cases where the employee is doing everything possible to be 
dismissed without coming under the rule about gross insub- 
ordination or willful neglect of duty. These fellows are a 
cunning breed. Unless both you and the department head 
are more cunning still, you will find a fine union griev- 
ance on your hands when in desperation you dismiss such 


an employee under the rule that severance pay is not allow- 

I prefer to pay in a lump and get the matter closed on the 
books. Yet there is something to be said for paying in in- 
stallments on the theory that the money is to keep the em- 
ployee and his family afloat while he looks for another job. 
If a man is so weak that he can't handle his money, I should 
pay in installments if possible, and I should try to get the 
man to assign payments to his wife if you know her to be 
more trustworthy. 

I know a young woman who purposely slumped enough to 
get herself discharged with severance pay after being with 
her company for a number^ of years. She then flashed an en- 
gagement ring and announced that her bundle of folding 
money would furnish a nice apartment, So she and her 
spouse now have a lot of overstuffed furniture which I main- 
tain was bought with the severance pay of sin. 

Old-age Pension Plans. — Just how much rugged individ- 
ualism we are giving up in our national striving for security, 
no one can say. It seems too bad that the old self-reliance 
is being whittled down and bringing fears about the future. 
Yet we are in a period of economic change and we must ac- 
cept the trend toward security, recognizing that there are 
some valid reasons for it. The family is not the unit it once 
was. Urbanization is the foe of the aged. High-speed steel 
brings high-speed living. The old years are more than ever 
the lean years. There are more old years than ever before. 
The span of life has lengthened so much that we are becom- 
ing a nation of elderly people. The burden of the aged is too 
great to be borne by the succeeding generation if those who 
comprise it are to have normal lives of their own. The re- 
sult is the general demand for old-age pensions. 

There are now old-age pensions for some groups of work- 
ers under the Social Security Act and the coverage will be 
broadened, but this Federal system has not lessened pres- 
sure upon the world of business to provide additional pro- 
tection for the years of inactivity which old employees face. 


You will be fortunate if you join an organization and find a 
stabilized pension system already in operation. Fortunate, 
if the system is on an actuarial basis with an insurance com- 
pany or other sound financial institution as trustee. 

The difficulty a company faces in starting a financially 
stable pension system for aged employees is caused by the 
need to provide a large backlog to put the system into safe 
operation, and the older the average age of employees the 
larger the backlog must be. Some such sum as eight or ten 
million dollars may have to be set aside for the purpose. 
This makes the establishment of a pension plan something 
for management to worry about. 

A great many corporations have pension plans "at the will 
of the board of directors." I always gag a bit over that 
"will" business. Not that I discount the integrity of the 
present board of directors or sneer at the company's altruism 
in establishing the pension system. But there is no legal 
contract. The employee works twenty-five or thirty years, 
and the board of directors is sole judge of whether or not the 
man gets a pension. It can change the rules in the middle 
of the game, something I detest. If you find yourself in a 
company where pensions are paid out of operating expenses 
or taken out of the till by some other bookkeeping operation, 
render all the help you can in getting the pension system on 
a basis that gives clear-cut promises of the security old em- 
ployees crave today. Needless to say, pensions "at the will 
of the board of directors" are noncontributory pensions. 

I believe in contributory pensions. Probably forty-five or 
fifty million persons are presently forced to contribute to 
pensions under the Social Security Act. If they wish addi- 
tional security, they should be willing to join in paying for 
it too. The tax drain on a corporation is a heavy one, and 
employees should be willing to tax themselves voluntarily to 
increase the sum the corporation is willing to pay to the 
trustee of the pension fund and thereby get greater benefits. 

I like a contributory pension plan because one who bene- 
fits from it has the right to do what he pleases. It is not 


canceled if he finds another job after retirement. The 
monthly payment is in reality deferred wages plus the re- 
turn of the employee's contribution. But, and mark me 
well, a pension "at the will of the board of directors" has a 
catch in it that I'll wager you'll find to this effect: if the 
pensioner gets himself a- job, the pension ceases while he 
holds it. 

The answer is that the old-age pension under the Social 
Security Act is withheld if the worker goes to work for $15 
or more a week. Well, that is the law, and I would not 
change it, but for a private pension plan to cut off a retired 
employee because he gets bored with idleness or needs a lit- 
tle extra money is not my idea of vaunted altruism. 

Of course, private pension plans take into account the 
government pension and reduce their payments accordingly. 
Most of them pay 1 per cent or 1% per cent for each year of 
service with a minimum of twenty years. A liberal payment 
is 2 per cent a year for twenty years of service, increasing 
to twenty-five years, which gives the maximum pension of 
50 per cent on the salary or wages averaged over the last five 
or ten years of employment. The age at which one can re- 
tire varies, but under Social Security influence perhaps 
sixty-five years will be the usual age — if one has the requi- 
site years of service. 

Disability benefits are something else again. They are for 
employees who are incapacitated permanently or partially, 
and payments are fixed by the amount of disability based on 
the medical department report. Usually there is some stated 
period of employment antecedent to retirement, especially 
where the cause is not related to employment. Such pen- 
sioners should be examined at regular intervals to determine 
possible changes in their physical condition, which in turn 
may demand a change in the amount paid. 

"To grow old is more difficult than to die," Amiel wrote in 
his "Journal." And he added, "To bear one's own decay, to 
accept one's lessening capacity, is a harder and rarer virtue 


than to face death." A pension is a great help in exercising 
that harder and rarer virtue. 

Group Insurance and Other Money Benefits. — Whatever 
payment is made to an off- the- job employee in lieu of pay- 
ment for work done comes under the head of insurance or 
benefits. It is a money payment to compensate for loss of 
ability to do the job, whether through accident or illness, or 
a money payment to heirs where death has taken him off the 
job. There are as many types of protection by contract or 
agreement as there are special conditions that make it ex- 
pedient for a company to go outside the norm in arranging 
for insurance and benefits. 

Employees' group insurance contemplates first of all life 
insurance. Since not many workers carry life insurance 
(except the "industrial" insurance which is both meager and 
expensive), management has blazed the trail for better pro- 
tection of its employees' families. Some unions also have 
insurance plans. The face value of the policy is not large, 
but it is enough so that the family can walk down the stairs 
and out of the house after the funeral instead of having to 
jump out the window. 

Either all employees have the same insurance, especially 
where noncontributory, or there is a graduated scale accord- 
ing to the amount of wages or salary. The right to insurance 
protection comes after a certain term of employment, any- 
where from three to twelve months. Some noncontributory 
plans provide for semiannual increases up to a specified 
amount. Where employment is terminated, there is usually 
the opportunity to convert the policy to straight life insur- 
ance with premiums based on the then age of the policy 
holder. The only advantage is the waiving of a medical 
examination. In the case of some elderly or seriously dis- 
eased person this is a welcome opportunity indeed. Con- 
version to straight life insurance is not a good investment 
for a healthy, young person. He should have some other 
type of policy. 


Some companies demand that all employees be insured. 
With others it is optional with the employee. I am speaking 
now of contributory plans. The amount of insurance for 
which an employee is eligible is roughly equal to one year's 
wages. The limit is usually $4,000 or $5,000. Collections 
are made by pay-roll deductions. The employee can name 
any beneficiary he desires and he can change his beneficiary. 
However, in some cases there is a clause in the policy whereby 
an amount up to $500 may be payable to the next of kin or 
any other person presenting an authenticated bill for fu- 
neral expenses. 

When I was in the First World War, our insurance officer 
came to mess one day with a grin on his face which caused 
the general to ask, "What's so funny?" 

"I have been making out insurance papers," he explained, 
"for some men who have just come. I said to one, 'I sup- 
pose you wish to name your wife as beneficiary.' 'No/ he ex- 
claimed vehemently, 'I don't want that little rat to get it ; I 
want it to go to the mother of my two children.' ' 

Where the money is to go is the employee's business, not 
yours. Any moral suasion your stern, puritanical conscience 
may admonish you to exert should be curbed or expressed 
as only the touch-and-go perad venture of a doubt. But 
where an employee is on his deathbed, away from what was 
his established home, and the doctor and the "landlady" are 
interested in seeing that the beneficiary is changed from 
someone in the family, you can rightly be suspicious and 
guided by events. Have all your facts well in hand and doc- 
umented if you are called upon to testify. 

Other group policies of insurance for employees are to 
cover accidents and sickness. These two are contributory. 
Where a company itself pays for time lost, it may have the 
protection of insurance or it may set up its own reserve and 
pay from it on the approval of its medical department. Usu- 
ally the life insurance policy carries a clause covering. total 
disability. This is for the payment of the ia.ce of a policy 
over a period of, say, five years at monthly intervals. 


For illness and nonservice accidents payments start from 
three days to a week after the last day worked. Where the 
accident is in-service and there is workman's compensation, 
this is signed over by the employee to the company in those 
cases where the company continues the man's wages. Some 
companies pay office workers from the first day of illness. 

Compensation insurance is under state control. It is rou- 
tined for swift and simple operation. Unless a case is com- 
plicated or carries a suspicion of fraud, it is handled in a 
standardized manner. The amount of compensation, a per- 
centage of the man's wages, varies according to the state law. 
You will do well to acquaint yourself as soon as possible with 
the law in your state and then watch for amendments and 
directives and decisions which are interpretive. Your com- 
pany will be insured in a state fund or an insurance com- 
pany. If self-insured, this arrangement must meet all legal 
requirements as to procedure. 

Under the Social Security Act in states having unemploy- 
ment insurance in accordance with Federal legislation, the 
employer may deduct up to 90 per cent of his pay-roll tax 
to meet payments due the state for this insurance fund. As 
personnel director you will have nothing to do with these 
payments except to certify to the proper authority that 
severance from the pay roll is of such a nature as to qualify 
the ex-employee for benefits. The only trouble I have ever 
had has been with several young ladies who "quit to stay 
home" or resigned for some other reason. They have battled 
to get me to state to the unemployment commission that 
they were discharged so that they could get the insurance. 
As none of them was in a position to blackmail me because 
she was "staying home," I have not lost one of these battles 

Hospital insurance is excellent. I have personally watched 
the operation of the Blue Cross Hospital Plan, and I can 
attest what great benefit it has been to employees. I prefer 
it to those insurance plans whereby the employee pays his 
hospital bills and then is reimbursed by an insurance com- 


pany. If you can educate enough employees to take this 
type of insurance, you will be doing them a great service. 

Every so often my office is a wailing wall for an employee 
who had the opportunity to join the Blue Cross group and 
failed to do so. While I am sympathetic because of the loss 
the employee has sustained by having to pay a big hospital 
bill, yet I have to point out that it is his own neglect he is 
paying for. 

Some companies pay the entire premiums for all em- 
ployees; others pay part of the premium for participating 
employees. Pay the employee a good enough wage so that 
he can buy the insurance. Then leave the decision up to him 
as a moral responsibility. 

Insurance to cover fees for surgical operation and for med- 
ical care is now available through many Blue Cross Hospital 
Plans, and in time will probably have the same wide accept- 
ance as the Hospital Plan. Group policies are now available 
from insurance companies to protect against these contin- 
gencies. If it is desired by your employees, arrangement 
for this coverage is also a personnel department obligation. 
I think that here too the employees should pay the premiums 
in full. 

Maternity leave with some pay is now becoming general. 
Babies still come in the good old way. Through some sort of 
twanging on management's heartstrings the worker is now 
given a leave of absence to prepare for the blessed event : 
then she stays home until the blessed bundle takes greedily 
to a formula. In the old days many a personnel manager 
has been called up by an irate or fearful department 
head to hear, "If you don't get that young woman out 
of here, I'm afraid she's going to have a baby in the wash- 


Maybe it is to pacify executives and allay their fears that 
management now gives maternity leave. I have seen a six- 
month leave work out well in practice. Divide it any way 
the prospective mother wishes. I have heard somewhere 
of a seventy-seven-day leave before birth and four months' 


leave after. But how even an almost omniscient personnel 
director can hit seventy-seven days on the nose is a mystery 
to me. 

Give the mother-to-be four weeks' pay. You gamble that 
much on her coming back. Very often she elects not to re- 
turn. Sometimes she goes to some other job. I knew one 
high-minded lady who made an offer to return the four 
weeks' pay when she got a wonderful opportunity to go else- 
where. Her management refused. Right. 

Credit Unions. — I have said my say about credit unions 
in a previous chapter, also about loan sharks and borrowing. 
All I need repeat here is that I am in favor of supervised 
employee participation in taking care of the suddenly emer- 
gent demands for money among fellow employees. It takes 
the heat off management and makes the loan a cooperative 
affair rather than a paternal one. 

Collections. — You will seldom run into any difficulty 
where there is a collection in a small group for some specific 
purpose. There are some sources of dissatisfaction, such as 
when a new employee is asked to contribute to buy a wedding 
present. Such occurrences are so minor that you seldom 
hear of them. The new employee should refuse, of course ; 
but he (more often she) hates to look like a piker among 
new associates. Most of us old-timers could spend a winter 
in California if we now had in a lump sum the fifty-cent 
pieces and the dollars we have chipped in to buy flowers for' 
funerals of employees we had scarcely a nodding acquaint- 
ance with. 

Watch out for tangles in Christmas funds. Fifty cents or 
a dollar goes into a bank each week for fifty weeks. Often a 
group in a department will elect one person collector who 
banks the money. All goes well if he does it each week. 
However, amateur financiers make more mistakes than pro- 
fessional ones. I knew one company that out of the good- 
ness of its heart put up several hundred dollars to keep a 
group from being disappointed just before Christmas. So 
keep your company from having to play Santa Claus, if it 


has that big a heart. Insist that a Christmas Club must 
operate through the cashier's office. 

Payments for Employees. — As I have already said, never 
lend an employee your own money. Give him a dollar or two 
to take his baby home from the hospital in a taxicab, but 
don't lend him any money. Employees get into the craziest 
jams. A week won't go by that someone doesn't come in to 
tell you the gas or the electricity is about to be turned off or 
a dispossess notice served. I have also told you that when 
that happens I then telephone and fence for time. If I can. 
I relay a promise that the bill will be taken care of on the 
next payday. 

My routine is to say that the employee will bring me the 
cash on payday and that I shall then mail a check. I put 
the transaction down on my calendar for payday and if the 
culprit has not come up by three o'clock, I telephone him to 
find out why he has not produced. 

I have explained my canceled checks to my wife and cau- 
tioned her to explain to my biographer, if he runs through 
them, that I did not lead a double life many times over. 
Among them are checks for grocers and butchers, checks for 
dry cleaners and dry goods stores, and checks for the rent of 
apartments across the tracks inhabited by lone females. 



One big function of a personnel department is to take the 
guesswork out of jobs as much as possible. It cannot be 
done entirely. Still, the mandate of the personnel depart- 
ment is to do everything it can to get a scientific, objective 
understanding of the job and the proper worker to fill it. To 
accomplish anything worth the effort means hard, exacting, 
honest work. Results must be reviewed and rejudged at an- 
nual intervals at least. 

A rating system is devised to take snap judgment, guess- 
work, and unconsidered opinion out of the verdict on an em- 
ployee's characteristics as they hamper or help his work. 
This program will turn out to have little value unless it has 
the wholehearted, continuing support and drive of manage- 

Scientific, objective understanding of the job and the 
proper worker is not enough. This understanding is only 
the blueprint for action. Whenever there is a change, the 
job has to be streamlined in accordance with the new find- 
ings. Then a worker has to be selected anew or retrained to 
cover it with the greatest possible degree of efficiency. If 
the job remains unchanged on review, there is still the need 
to check the worker's production or service against the stand- 
ard or the ideal. Another purpose of the investigation is to 
ascertain whether or not the rate of pay is fairly established. 
Still another purpose is to be able to give the worker an in- 
telligent report of his progress as an employee of the com- 
pany. This report is in relation to the work itself and also 
in relation to the progress of other employees in like posi- 



In large plants the study of what workers do and should 
do is too wide in scope to be a responsibility solely of the 
personnel department. The smaller the plant, the more the 
personnel director and qualified members of his staff will 
be able to do themselves. Where a good job analyst can be 
employed, you have assurance of a groundwork that may be 
expected to meet criticism successfully. Yet even if a per- 
sonnel department can make the entire survey, there yet 
must be a cooperating committee of line executives, and it 
would be wise to include in discussions both union represen- 
tatives and superior workers. 

Where production jobs are surveyed, the plant manager, 
of course, is the ranking member of the committee. Where 
office positions are surveyed, the office manager or the assist- 
ant to the company official in charge of business activities is 
the ranking member. Much of the success of the committee 
work depends on the man who heads it. Other members of 
the committee, except any union agent and those from the 
personnel department, are in line under the head. So his 
authority and firmness can be exercised to get results which 
can be interpreted and given dynamic purpose. If this man 
is lax and has a lax committee, in most cases you might as 
well throw the results in the wastebasket. 

Among other members of the committee will be the divi- 
sion head and the foreman of the group immediately to be 
considered. Each one should be made acquainted with the 
purpose of the inquiry and the logical steps that must be 
taken to get the data; he should be not only acquainted with 
the procedure but sold on it. The same must be said of the 
representatives of the employees, whether union officials or 
others. Every person on the committee in effect should say 
in his heart, "I am going to do all I can to make this analysis 
or evaluation a success because I think I shall thereby ren- 
der the greatest service to both the company and the em- 

Be sure you know what you wish to accomplish before you 
call your committee to its first meeting. Give thought also 


to the objections that may be advanced. Consider the weight 
of possible alternative plans or methods. Unless there is a 
wide divergence of opinion, this first meeting should settle 
all the mechanics of the work to be done and the allocation 
of responsibilities. Have someone from the personnel de- 
partment to act as stated clerk. He can get the necessary 
forms printed once they are agreed upon, then see to their 
distribution and subsequent collection and, finally, to their 
proper filing. 

Just remember that your committee has authority only 
to recommend, so you will have to be able to come before 
management to explain and perhaps defend the analyses 
you make, the classifications you seek to establish, and the 
wage changes you believe proper. Be prepared. 

If you inherit a going classifications committee when you 
become personnel director, that is one thing. To start such 
a continuing series of surveys is something else, unmistak- 
ably a big undertaking. Even with management's whole- 
hearted backing I should be wary about starting a plant- 
wide analysis, all wheels turning at once. It is better to start 
with one department, even with one division of it, and in 
that one department work out your procedure, allay all sus- 
picions, and collect and interpret data to prove to yourself, 
if to no one else, that you have established the proper rou- 
tine and technique. 

One difference between job analysis and job evaluation is 
that the former, as has just been said, can be done piece- 
meal, department by department, whereas the latter must 
be done on a plant-wide basis all at one time. The reason 
is that the evaluation cannot be successful unless it covers 
all jobs. It relates each job equitably to all others, espe- 
cially when you install a point evaluation system. 

This chapter will tell generally of job analyses, job speci- 
fications, job evaluations, and employee rating scales. Re- 
sults of job surveys tell what the job is, what the worker 
should know in order to do it, and what the rate of pay 
should be in relation to definite bench marks. Rating scales 


tell how expertly the employees are doing their total jobs 
in relation to both the ideal and the other workers. Rating 
may determine who is to be transferred, trained further for 
the present job or for new work, laid off or discharged, or 
given a change of rate of pay. 

Before you start on any of these surveys, you would do 
well to acquaint yourself with material available through 
the United States Employment Service and, also, with 
current publications and books that set forth standard per- 
sonnel practice of today. This chapter can only outline 


The foundation of all scientific efforts to put a fair wage 
scale into operation is job analysis. "Scientific" means ex- 
ercising the utmost sincerity in the quest for facts, using 
every approved method you can which industrial engineers 
and psychologists have at their disposal. A large order? 
Perhaps not. Does it take a large order for one to be sin- 
cere? A person who is not sincere should not be on a job- 
analysis committee. And granted he is sincere, he will cer- 
tainly wish to use the best methods. There is no room for 
personal bias here. There are only objective questions to 
answer: What is the job? What fs the best way to get it 
done? What qualifications must the worker have who can 
do it best? 

Here I reiterate: Both management and labor should join 
in this survey. Agreed results mean as much to one as they 
mean to the other. They save a great deal of future bicker- 
ing, suspicion, and charges, not too often veiled in polite lan- 
guage, of ineptitude and deception. Either management or 
labor would have to put up a better argument than I have 
yet heard to get me to change my vote for joint participation. 

After top management has agreed to a job-analysis pro- 
gram, the skill of the personnel director will be shown in 
the success with which he persuades minor executives and 
foremen, on the one hand, and employees and their leaders, 


on the other, that the analyses will benefit them as individ- 
uals, in their representative capacities. Bosses who have 
hired according to their own judgment often fear that this 
newfangled job analysis will clip some of their prerogatives. 
Labor suspects that somewhere along the line it will be horn- 
swoggled. If all members of the committee come to the first 
meeting packing guns, the best you can do is to get them to 
put them on the table in plain sight. After a few meetings 
you should be able to get them to check their firearms in the 
coatroom. If you can't, then you have demonstrably failed. 

Getting the Facts. — What facts about a specific job do 
you need to know to make an analysis of it? How can you 
best get them? 

The best way to make sure that no element in the analysis 
may be overlooked is to prepare an over-all work sheet as a 
frame of reference. This you should break down so thor- 
oughly under leading headings that there is no job in the 
entire organization but that can be analyzed by proper 
answers to certain of the questions. 

Each individual job-analysis sheet is headed by the names 
of the department and division, the title of the job, and the 
name of the foreman to show the line of authority. These 
set the stage for the committee. The various headings which 
follow can be juggled as you think best. There are two gen- 
eral divisions: first, the job and its environment; and sec- 
ond, the ideal worker. Under the first must be set down the 
place where the job is performed, conditions surrounding the 
worker, what tools or machines are required by the worker 
himself or as a cooperator, the progressive demands made 
upon the worker for usual and for peak-load volumes of 
work, hours of work and rest periods, responsibilities to those 
above and below, and teamwork. If time or motion studies 
have been deemed essential, the results should be transferred 
to the sheet. They are an integral part of the analysis. 

The part of the analysis concerned with the ideal worker 
gives sex, age bracket, physical strength, intelligence, gen- 
eral or special, any required antecedent skill or training, 


and rate of pay. While not essential to an understanding 
of the job, it is convenient to put down on the sheet what 
promotion possibilities stem from it and from what group or 
groups applicants for the job may be drawn. This is valu- 
able information for the personnel director to have before 
him as he discusses the job with an applicant. 

There are certain checks outside the committee which 
should be made. In the first place, it is good sense to let the 
worker himself describe what he does on the job. As the 
analyst may discover, the man may not be working at top 
efficiency ; but he is working, and his own story may reveal 
some procedure overlooked by all others. A convenient way 
to get the information is to give the man a questionnaire to 
fill out. 

Have in mind the intelligence required for the job and 
also the verbal poverty of so many workers. Therefore, the 
questionnaire should not require any biting of a lead pencil. 
This reduces the questionnaire — in the lower intelligence 
grades for the most part — to a sheet where check marks can 
be made next to one question of several words or short de- 
scriptions. Better still, a recorder should go over the sheet 
with the worker and on the back write down in his words his 
version of the steps of the job. 

Other checks should be made by the medical department, 
the safety supervisor, and whatever member of the safety 
committee comes from the department where the job is per- 
formed. The head electrician may be called in by either 
medical or safety authority to deal with a lighting or a power 

Job Specifications. — The job analysis tells management 
what the job is, how best it can be done, and what type 
worker can do it best. The job specification tells the worker 
how he is to do the job. It is the foreman's touchstone as he 
watches the worker's performance. The specification is 
drafted from the analysis. It should be written so simply 
that the worker can understand it. Concretely, the things 
the specification details are: what the job is named, under 


what supervisor the work is done, what duties must be car- 
ried out and in what order, what tools and materials the 
worker is responsible for, what education he should have, 
and what he must know or be trained to know about the 
job. It should also include the rate of pay and the differen- 
tial if more is paid for a second or third shift. If there is any 
leeway to permit extra payment for skill above the minimum, 
the bracket wages should be given. Here too should be set 
down promotional possibilities. 

The personnel director should have a file of both job anal- 
yses and specifications. When a requisition comes for a 
worker, an assistant should be able to find by title the proper 
card and give it to the personnel director or the interviewer 
who will try to fill the opening. From it, too, classified ad- 
vertisements may be written if the job is to be advertised 
more than by title. 

The job analysis and the specification enable the personnel 
director to do a more intelligent hiring job. He saves his 
company time and money, and in the doing fits the new 
employee to the job with understanding on both sides. He 
has taken out insurance against many of the ills that afflict 
management-labor relations. Where he has been able to get 
both to develop the general program jointly, he then is not 
confronted with the problem: management versus labor. 
He has a team : management and labor. Nice going. 


Job evaluation gives you the price tag on the job. In both 
the analysis and the specification the rate of pay is noted, 
but it is the job evaluation that investigates and determines 
what the rate is to be. Yet it is only an advisory operation 
until its findings are finally authorized by the company offi- 
cial or committee delegated by management to do so. 

Just as analysis is of the job itself with no concern for 
the particular individual, competent or less than competent, 
holding the job, so evaluation is equally objective. By a 
series of comparisons we fix the price of a job, after scaling 


it in relation to all other jobs in the organization. The first 
time you measure jobs in relation to each other and then 
price them, you may be in for a number of surprises. Glar- 
ing inequities will show up. Jobs previously thought impor- 
tant and paid accordingly may turn out to be routine and 
overpaid. Some jobs that have been lightly regarded and 
paid the minimum may show a greater importance and in 
all honesty require a higher wage. 

Necessarily, the evaluation material is more extensive and 
intensive than for analysis or specification. Instead of being 
merely descriptions of activities and skills, advanced evalu- 
ation procedure calls for an immutable measurement guide. 
With this for reference each job is then evaluated in terms 
of points. Each factor — physical effort, mental effort, ex- 
perience and training, working conditions, responsibility, 
and so on — is given an arbitrary point bracket. In judging 
a job, members of this evaluation committee to determine 
the measurement guide, top-flight executives and employee 
representatives, allot the number of points that a factor 
seems to require for satisfactory performance in relation to 
the job's other factors. 

Yes, this is a subjective verdict, but by the composition 
of the jury that determines the bench marks on the scale, 
you can believe that the final figures are about as fair as it is 
humanly possible to get them. They are arrived at by pool- 
ing the individual judgments of the members of the com- 
mittee and then striking an average. 

What are the bench marks? They are the individual jobs 
selected as points of reference. By means of them each other 
job is calibrated. A bench-mark job is one about which 
there can be no real debate as to the point values of its fac- 
tors. Certain jobs in any organization stand out at once as 
fairly priced. The workers think so, management thinks so, 
the interested members of the committee think so. You lo- 
cate one such job as the lowest among those that are dis- 
tinctly minor, another among those that are then a few 


grades up, and so on to where the worker, usually an execu- 
tive, is paid, say, $400 a month or maybe $100 a week. 

Between the messenger boy at $67 a month and an execu- 
tive at $400 a month there can be any number of steps. In 
fact, you could have roughly twenty-three steps of $15 each. 
But stop. The jumps go much below that sum in the lower 
brackets and often above it in the higher. Salary classes 
should be about $5 apart as you start from the messenger 
boy and about $35 or $40 apart as you come to the final stop. 

But too many job steps — bench marks — are not practical. 
For one thing, you probably could not find so many as 
twenty-three undebatable steps spaced as you wish them. 
Aim for about fourteen or fifteen bench marks. You may 
find that you will have to throw out several of them. You 
think they will be good, but they turn out to be out of line. 

Now your committee must decide what factors are im- 
portant in getting a particular job done. You should not 
have too many factors. They would make your evaluation 
work cumbersome and, by its very refinement, unrealistic. 
Make up your factors from a study of what you buy in your 
employment office : brain, brawn, skill, flexibility, reliability, 
responsibility, cooperation, ability to meet existing working 
conditions while maintaining good production or service. In 
varying proportions you will find them in every job. Two or 
more of those mentioned here might be combined in one 

The next step is putting a valuation on your bench-mark 
jobs. One scheme prices each factor in dollars. The total is 
the price of the job. Another scheme prices a factor in 
points, with a maximum for each. In a light manufacturing 
plant there might be a maximum of sixty points for working 
conditions and two hundred points for responsibility for er- 
rors. It is evident that these points must ultimately be 
turned into dollars, so many to the dollar. 

The spade work of the committee ends when its bench- 
mark jobs have been priced. With the data thus established, 


the long, grueling task of evaluating all the other jobs in the 
plant begins. No matter how you simplify it, there will still 
be plenty of work. And do not simplify it to the point, say, 
where you put all stenographers into one bin. They just 
don't belong together. No more do all machinists as such 
or all packing clerks as such. 

From the way I have been telling you about job evalua- 
tion, you have realized by this time that when it comes to 
mathematical presentation I belong to the school of Impres- 
sionists. All I can give you is a sketchy impression, with 
emphasis on the fact that if you are not good at figures you 
had better lean heavily for job evaluation on someone who is. 

Are you nearly through once you have priced all jobs in 
points? No. You have to scale all the jobs according to 
their point value. With reference to the bench marks, you 
can see whether or not a job is under- or overpriced or is 
just where it should be. The jobs are priced from the scale. 
If the work has been done well, the resulting chart will show 
a fairly straight progression up the point coordinate and 
across the dollar coordinate. 

From the chart you determine the salary classes or grades 
that must be set up — with minimums and maximums. Since 
there is always an overlapping, the maximum of one salary 
group being more than the minimum of the group above it. 
a range must be determined that sets the boundaries for the 
classification. These "interior ranges" of salary brackets fol- 
low each other without a break in dollar value from the low- 
est group to the highest so that there is never a job priced 
but that there is a specific bracket in which to place it. 

When you learn from the chart that a job has been priced 
too low or too high, you must reprice it. One that is below 
the minimum is brought up to what you now accept as the 
standard. When the standard maximum has been exceeded 
on the old wage scale, those employees getting the super- 
maximum wages can be transferred to a higher group. Their 
point rating shows them to be worth inclusion in this higher 


Where hourly rates are involved, it is better to have a 
point system in terms of one cent a point. Then your trans- 
lation into wages is easier. Scale a job with an hour wage 
for factors as follows : 

Dependability 8 

Education and experience 14 

Intricacy 18 

Working conditions 12 

Cooperation 8 

Responsibility 10 


There you have a job that translates its factors into a total 
of 70 cents an hour immediately. 

Job evaluation may take months. The quicker it is done, 
the better. To repeat, it should be a joint project of man- 
agement and accredited representatives of employees. I do 
not favor an ex parte evaluation. Since the purpose of these 
scientific approaches to a thorough understanding of the job 
in terms of work and wages is to minimize grievances and 
unrest, the employees should be represented in the ap- 
praisals. Then when they complain later, they must base 
their contentions on something beyond what their own rep- 
resentatives have agreed is fair and reasonable. 

It will be good technique to discuss first those jobs about 
which there will be little difference of opinion. This "easy 
does it" stage gets all members of the committee pulling in 
the traces. 

Before final release of the new scale, check community 
rates for low and high wages in each group. Also check in- 
dustry rates with proper weights if you go out of your own 
area for figures. 

After job evaluation comes job standardization. This is 
merely the fiat that definite terms mean the same definite 
things on all jobs, that jobs mean exactly what the terms 
say they mean, and that the pay is exactly what the rate 
chart says it is. Then as the last step of all, we have job 


classifications. This is the grouping of jobs that are related 
by the sameness of duties and qualifications necessary for 
their performance. It is stating a corollary to say that the 
salaries or wages are in the same bracket. 


I have a great respect for the purpose that dictates a rating 
policy. I wish I could have the same respect for the judg- 
ment of some of the persons who do the rating. The pro- 
cedure is not foolproof. You cannot pour a number of near- 
truths and guesses of indifferent raters into the hopper and 
have a perfect answer come out at the spout. Yet the fault 
is not all that of the rater. . The fault rests also with man- 
agement and the personnel director. 

That fault is lack of knowledge of how to do a good job of 
rating. There are very few who rate with open bias and 
maybe venom, very few. Incorrect ratings in the vast ma- 
jority of cases are the result of ignorance. So the first work 
a personnel director has to do on installing a rating program 
is to educate rating supervisors and executives. 

You cannot educate your raters until you set up a rating 
scale for them. Part of their education they will get if you 
will let them help you determine what the scale is to be. As 
they discuss what factors are important in setting up the 
standards and substandards and superstandards, both super- 
visors and executives will think more clearly and see more 
facets of the problem than, singly, anyone of them had seen 
before. A great part of what they consider in your seminar 
they will undoubtedly remember and apply later. 

Since you will know better than any one of your associates 
what direction these gatherings should take, it is your job to 
have a precis ready for their guidance. This should include 
specimen rating scales used by other organizations which 
you feel come close to what you have in mind while rating 
your own employees. 

There are two general approaches. It depends on what 
things your employees do and how they do them whether 


you build your scale on one rather than on the other. It 
will be obvious to you that some plants may have to use 
more than one scale. 

The first approach rates personal attitudes and abilities in 
an effort to see where the worker appears in the rating pic- 
ture. This scale must reveal what qualities must be devel- 
oped or trained further to make him a better worker if he is 
rated below what must be expected of one on his job. The 
second approach is through the job description, with a break- 
down into operations which can thus be rated as com- 

First, you and your committee must decide what factors 
have sufficient importance to be included in the scale. About 
some there will be no debate: volume of work, quality of 
work, cooperation and loyalty, personal appearance (stressed 
for those who meet the public), tact, punctuality, health. 
Make sure that all agree on the meaning of words. Does 
"quality of work" mean the same as "salesmanship"? Or 
the same as "industry"? Does "tact" mean more than "co- 
operation" or does it means something totally different? 

There are rating scales for the rank and file, rating scales 
for supervisors, and — yes, you guessed it — even rating scales 
for executives. Not enough companies have rating scales for 
executives. Some large companies have them — companies 
so large that the operation is impersonal. Small companies 
shy away from them because it is almost a matter of brother 
rating brother. The Big Boss figures, if he figures at all, that 
a little general inefficiency among executives is better than 
a big domestic infelicity. 

What are the coordinates of a rating scale? This is where 
you have free wheeling. You can decide upon your own. 
Down the sheet you can list the qualities you wish to score. 
Across the sheet you can put the degrees of excellence. It 
will be well to make everything as explicit as possible. Some 
scales follow a quality with a description of it. "Coopera- 
tion: the ability and the willingness to get things done as 
pleasantly as possible by teamwork where united effort facil- 


itates or expedites, even under disagreeable circumstances." 
And the degree ranges from our old friends, "Excellent, 
Good, Fair, Poor" to a numerical scale, usually 10 to 1. 

The numerical scale often has definitions that explain just 
what 7 or 4 or any other number should mean. To heighten 
attention of raters, some scale makers list a quality 10 to 1, 
and then list the next one 1 to 10. I prefer uniform listing. 
Then a line can be drawn down the sheet, and at a glance you 
see the weaknesses and the strengths from the zigzags. 

Ideally, a line down the chart that went through every 8 
in the scale would show a much better than average worker 
if the average were 6. But would the worker be a third bet- 
ter than average if some line ran 7, another 9, three lines ran 
10, and three lines ran 6? I doubt it. The reason is that one 
quality is not of the same value as every other quality in the 
over-all picture of job performance. Scoring a machine op- 
erator 10 for tact and 6 for quantity of work done does not 
give you a worker who comes out 8. 

So you should not give all qualities the same weight. The 
lines may be the same length, but the gradations on one may 
be 20 and on another 5. The line drawn down the middle of 
the sheet would show the worker to be consistent in his medi- 
ocrity, but in the scoring his volume of work would be 10 
and his personal appearance 2.5. 

Whatever statistical information is available when the 
rater receives the worker's sheet should already have been 
entered. The information will help him rate. A careless 
rater will think twice before rating the man as an indifferent 
salesman when confronted with cold figures showing a large 
volume of sales with few returns. Both recorded absence 
and lateness can be factors in rating, especially in reference 
to health with perhaps a resulting impact on interest in cus- 
tomers. No rating sheet should be turned in for analysis or 
for discussion with the worker, if that is to be done, until it 
carries two signatures, those of the rater and the reviewing 

Man-to-man Rating Scale.— The rudimentary rating 


scale is the one used by the Army in the First World War. It 
is interesting to see that the rating for physical qualities, 
intelligence, leadership, and personal qualities was 15 for 
each of the four, while general value to the Army was 40. 
In a civilian organization the weights would not be the same. 
For one group I might have a score of 5 for physical qualities 
and 25 for personal qualities. 

This Army scale was cumbersome. When rating one of 
the five divisions, the rater picked out five men he knew 
whom he would rate from 1 up to 5. Then he would think 
of the man to be rated as comparable to one of the five. My 
criticism is that in all likelihood he knew the five on the 
scale better than he knew the man being rated, much better. 
So his rating was somewhat of a guess. But it was a con- 
trolled guess and all the better for the control. 

There is one man-to-man rating in a small department 
that does not set up an outside scale. It rates one man in 
the department against another. Each name is placed on a 
card. The cards are then arranged in order of each man's 
value to the department in relation to the quality being 
rated. When these ratings have been entered on the sheet, 
the cards are worked over for the next quality. If you have 
twelve workers, the scoring is from 1 to 12; nine workers, 
1 to 9. When you wish to rate two the same, then move 2 
for the rating next lower. On a descending scale if you 
rate two workers 7, then the next lower is 5. This scale is 
good for rating where all the workers are engaged in the same 
operations. Do not break the description down into too 
many parts. You will find that this scale works best for the 
unskilled. Perhaps you can work it fairly well for the semi- 
skilled. If you do, the workers will be on the skimpy side of 

Comments Entered on Rating Scales. — Where rating 
scales are used as the basis of interviews with employees, 
comments that explain marks are valuable. They give the 
department head or the personnel director, particularly the 
latter, concrete facts on which a discussion aiming to in- 


crease production or better attitude can be based. I say par- 
ticularly the personnel director because the department head 
is supposed to know more about the worker, but he too can 
look at the rating sheet and benefit by making sure he over- 
looks nothing among the points it brings up. Be sure to tell 
the man the good things his rating sheet reveals. A man 
hears little enough good about himself in this world, and to 
hold out when you can tell him anything good is to me some- 
thing more than a venial sin. 

"Resolved, That the personnel director should be the one 
to interview workers to discuss periodic merit ratings." I 
can take either side of that debate and lose it. I don't know 
the answer. If the foreman, the immediate supervisor, has 
as much personnel savvy as the personnel director, then he 
should handle the correctional or training interview. But 
probably the majority of foremen are pretty much tongue- 
tied or can be baited into losing temper when they come to 
such a man-to-man talk. And any interview which gets no- 
where or ends in a hot argument is worse than none. Per- 
haps I should put this comment into the chapter on Inter- 
viewing, but the thought just popped into my head and — to 
mix the metaphor — I had to get it off my chest. 

Read This Twice. — Raters must be instructed thoroughly 
and watched carefully. This section opened with that warn- 
ing. No one should rate without a perfect understanding of 
the scale. There must be the same understanding that other 
raters have of the nomenclature used in describing the steps 
on the scale. Some raters will instinctively shrink from a 
severe marking. Their "tenderness" should be toughened. 
Others will score a quality about which they are uncertain 
at the level of those with which they are familiar. They 
should be impressed with the fact that no rating should 
follow uncertainty. 

You will hear men well acquainted with personnel work 
speak of the "halo" effect in rating. It means that the rater 
has a judgment as to the worker's ability in a general way 
and that it is unconsciously influencing him in scoring all 


qualities at about the general-effect level, good, bad, or indif- 

Rating Foremen. — You cannot speak in generalities about 
foremen. There are good, bad, and in-between ones. Be- 
cause their qualities are so diverse, rating them serves a use- 
ful purpose, perhaps more useful than the rating of the 
workers under them because they have more power. 

The rating scale for foremen has the basic divisions, but 
each will have a different interpretation than the workers' 
scale. For example : Knowledge of position includes for the 
foreman not only supervisory knowledge but also knowl- 
edge of each job performed in his division. Without that 
knowledge he is not a good foreman. Cooperation is more 
complicated. More initiative is demanded. 

There are supervisory ratings that a workers' scale may 
not have. Direction of personnel, operational aptitude, and 
training of workers are three possible ratings that are pig- 
ments in the picture. The foreman is the end-link in the 
executive chain, but no less a link for that. We can only 
hope that a good rating program will not only educate him 
but also educate his management as well to the status and 
confidence and cooperation he should enjoy. Let the fore- 
man know by deeds as well as words that he is part of man- 
agement and you remove the oppressive fear that drives him 
to seek union security. 

Employee Rating of Foremen. — Here you have me on a 
spot. I can see some advantages of the rating of a foreman 
by those under him, but I shrink from approving it. Per- 
haps some of my genes come from an employer-ancestor who 
paternally demanded obedience and respect from his em- 
ployees but who never brooked criticism. Yet if you call 
rating a foreman a morale survey, I probably shall say, "Now 
that is not a bad idea." My assent is expressed negatively, 
but I still assent. A morale survey is a one-shot, I hope, and 
not periodic. Go ahead and let employees rate their super- 
visors if you must, but you can devise a smarter way for 
management to learn how they stand with the employees 


under them. My advice is for you to be the transmission 
belt yourself. Digest your interviews, particularly your exit 
interviews. Then, allowing for the personal equation, usu- 
ally emotionally weighted, you will get a rating of a foreman 
as revealed by those under him that I think will be more 
accurate than the workers themselves could provide factu- 
ally on rating sheets. 

Rating Executives. — Where the Big Boss cannot have 
watchful eyes on all his executives, rating scales can be his 
eyes. He may trust a shrewd assistant to bring him faithful 
reports, but even such a reporter will do a better job if he 
uses some rating scale to help him keep in mind just what 
qualities must be observed and evaluated. The rating scale 
for executives is particularly important in large operations 
and in business where there are branches. 

Again we run into the problem of what to put into a scale 
and how to weight it for diverse activities. It is evident that 
where a branch manager in Wichita is handling the same 
line as one in Bangor, they can be pitted one against the 
other on the same scale. But even in such case there may 
have to be an allowance for differing types of customers in 
the two communities. On the other hand, when it comes to 
using the same scale for a branch executive heading an ac- 
counting division and one heading a sales division or a pro- 
duction division, it will have to be a very general scale indeed 
to contain both. In fact, I doubt that such a scale would be 
worth any more than the impressions the Big Boss would 
already have. 

So it comes down to the observation that one scale will not 
fit all kinds of executives "like the paper on the wall" any 
more than s one scale will fit all employees engaged in pro- 
duction, sales, and service. You can get only hints from 
scales used by < other organizations because you will have to 
tailor a scale to fit your own organization plus the personal 
stance of your own Big Boss. You will be smart if you do 
not try to lead your chief into making a scale for executives. 


You can make suggestions, yes. You can point out pertinent 
general divisions. 

Who will do the executive rating? In the case where the 
highest executive in each branch is to be rated, then every- 
one at headquarters who has a flow of relationship should 
rate on that part of the scale pertaining to his own responsi- 
bility. These would be in general vice-presidents in charge 
of production, purchasing, sales, and finance. You yourself 
may be called upon to rate personnel results. The head- 
quarters promotion manager, if there is one, might himself 
rate or assist the vice-president in charge of sales to rate the 
branch manager on his sales promotions. 

Do not be surprised or peeved if you do not see the ratings 
of these top-flight executives. Here one gets into the arcana 
of management, and it is my observation that at such times 
the personnel director is on the outside looking in. If he is 
on the inside looking out, he is a vice-president and probably 
the Big Boss's favorite and trusted brother-in-law. 

The Employee Rates Himself. — Occasionally an employee 
comes to me with a gripe. He is put upon. The foreman 
plays favorites, and he is not one of the favorites. There is 
no chance of promotion where he is. He should get a merit 
increase and when he asks for one he is turned down. I 
listen patiently. The few questions I ask are to keep the 
complaints flowing. Then I reach in the bottom drawer of 
my desk and bring out a rating sheet. 

"Here's a rating sheet," I say. "I want you to rate your- 
self. Go over to that table and answer every question. 
Take your time." 

No need to say, "Take your time." Anyone with any in- 
telligence will have to take time because there are so many 
things to be pondered. If the employee has no intelligence, 
then this stratagem is no good ; you are wasting time to try 
self -rating on him. * 

If you wish to see a man furrow his brow and bite his lead 
pencil, set him down to a self-rating sheet. After one glance 


a lot of them say they would like to take the sheet home and 
work on it. Not many of them come back. When an em- 
ployee turns in a sheet with his self-appraisal, you have his 
picture of himself which you can put up for comparison with 
the picture prepared by the foreman. Often the employee 
stands convicted on his own appraisal. That is the begin- 
ning of wisdom. Occasionally a conference with the foreman 
will reveal a situation that calls for some relief or advance- 
ment. It may mean that you have a job on your hands of 
deflating or disillusioning the employee. This is always a 
sorry business when you cannot hold out any hope, as is 
sometimes the case. 

Where a self-rating scale is used store-wide or plant-wide, 
it has educational value. Employees have set before them 
the traits and qualities that determine their standing, their 
advancement, even the duration of the position itself. The 
scale is a guide for work and conduct. The employee is in- 
vited to bring his self-rating to his periodic interview to 
discuss his progress. It is valuable to the interviewer in 
reconciling observed attitudes and performances with those 
the employee credits himself. During the interview the man 
has the opportunity to match his self -estimate with that of 
his foreman's, as checked by still higher authority. The self- 
rating is retained by the employee, not becoming part of his 
personnel record. 

Every employee should have the right to appeal a rating 
to still higher authority, and the personnel director should 
protect him if he makes it. 

Rating Is a Serious Business. — It is better to do no rating 
at all than to do a poor job and use the resulting ratings as 
judgments for advancements, transfers, and wage increases. 
Good ratings are better than shrewd guesses, better than un- 
organized, considered judgments. Ratings come from the top 
uown, but they should be known and understood from the 
bottom up. Employees must have confidence in their fair- 
ness. Employees must believe that when the rating is good 
management will reward accordingly. 



A static employee may be a comfort to his foreman and 
he may be no trouble to the personnel director, but he cer- 
tainly is not going anywhere. The employees who, individ- 
ually, take the most time of a personnel director are those 
who are going places, even if it is only out. 

When an employee gets restless or his foreman gets rest- 
less, one of five things can happen. You can gentle the 
worker and get him into a static condition, you can demote 
him, you can transfer him to another department, you can 
promote (upgrade) him, or you can fire him. 

In the last chapter we discussed ratings of various kinds. 
In this chapter we shall see how valuable honest ratings can 
be in helping you to make honest efforts to place employees 
where their work entitles them to be placed, at honest re- 

There is seldom a change of status in a small plant where 
there will not be a talk with the personnel director. The best 
words he can say are, "I see you've got a promotion. Good 
work! Keep it up." Unfortunately, there are other types 
of interviews, none of them so happy. There are few changes 
that do not call for at least one talk, sometimes more than 
one, with the worker, with the foreman, perhaps with an 
executive, then with the worker again. There are times 
when you feel you are a one-man conciliation board. 

Unless a worker is in the lowest group, he has as many 
potential moves ahead of him as the queen in a game of 
chess. He may move in any direction. Since it is most pleas- 
ant to think of him as moving up, let us give thought first 
to advancement. 



Going Up the Ladder. — Advancement can be inside or 

outside the department. Naturally, merely an increase in 
pay can be considered going up the ladder, but what we re- 
gard as a true advance is where the worker is given greater 
responsibility and greater opportunity, either with more 
money immediately or soon. A lowering of the number of 
hours worked with no reduction in take-home pay is a pro- 
motion. Such changes are usually by groups. 

Unless there is an advanced opening, there is no place to 
go except into a higher pay bracket. Where the advance- 
ment desired is to a better job, the personnel director is con- 
cerned more than the foreman because he has before him 
the range of all possible jobs, while the foreman is limited 
by his department. 

Here is where the job analyses and the worker's own merit 
rating give clues to possible disposition. Once it is agreed 
to upgrade the man, the paper work on file gives the answer 
to the question "Whither?" These clues lead to interviews. 
If there are several openings, I think the worker should have 
the opportunity to discuss each with the personnel director. 
But I should not tell him about any one of them until the 
man himself has been brought to the attention of the several 
foremen or department heads. There is no sense in telling a 
man about a job if he would not be persona grata on it! 

One of my greatest headaches is transferring an office 
worker. Often it is a stenographer in department A being 
upgraded to a secretarial position in department B. Well. 
sir, if you have had no experience, that sounds easy. But — 
Mr. B., her boss-to-be, wants her this minute, right away, 
now. And Mr. A., her relinquishing boss, does not wish to 
let her go until a satisfactory replacement has been found 
and trained. That puts the personnel director on the spot. 
The young woman cannot be two places at once. Somehow 
or other the advancement is made sooner or later, depending 
on which executive can throw the more weight around, but 
each one of these ascending transfers takes at least two years 
off my life. 


How do you know who should have a chance to move up? 
The obvious way is to keep a list of employees who come 
to you asking your help in getting a promotion. That is not 
enough. Other eligible employees should not be penalized 
for being timid or thoughtless. They too should be consid- 
ered. Thoroughness requires that the personnel director 
have available some means of determining what timber can 
fill the bill when he gets a department's order for a replace- 
ment. He must resort to his rating sheets. He must give 
due weight to seniority. 

Say a selection of three probables has been made. So far 
the personnel director has been thinking in terms of the em- 
ployee as an established unit. He has been acting as agent 
for those being considered. Now he must think in terms of 
management. Now the three candidates must have ap- 
praisals that are in large part subjective, appraisals of tem- 
perament and cooperation. Here the personnel director may 
have to match each candidate with his foreman-to-be and 
with the general characteristics and work patterns of the 
new group which he may join. The decision among the three 
is a test of personnel acumen. 

One reason for care in scrutinizing the records of all who 
should have consideration is the need of the personnel direc- 
tor to protect his management and himself against charges 
of pull, favoritism, nepotism, and every other ism. He must 
be able to "point to the record" and have it show why the 
complaining employee was passed over. Fair talk and fair 
play will save most situations from turning disappointed 
candidates into disgruntled employees. 

I prefer ratings and seniority and comparative prognoses 
of new-position adaptability to finding the candidate by a 
set examination whether in one subject or several. I hate 
to say, in effect, "Men, here is a job open. The one of you 
who passes an examination with the highest mark wins it." 
If there must be examinations, I think they should come 
along occasionally with a seemingly routine aspect. Then 
one can use the marks as ratings. Then there is no do-or-die 


mental and emotional upsurge. It takes too much out of 
too many. And two are too many. 

Sometimes it is easy to help an employee get a promotion. 
Take the case of a young woman who has been with you a 
short time in a mechanical department. She asks to be 
moved — into any department that has less of a factory at- 
mosphere. You cannot help her along the lines of the senior- 
ity chart because she is low on the list. There are others 
ahead of her eager to move out where she could go. 

What to do? Well, here is one thing. Arrange for her to 
take a typing course at night. Once she has attained a satis- 
factory speed, you can promote her to the next typist open- 
ing. But before you do this, you have to satisfy yourself 
that no other young woman in the department senior to her 
has that skill and a desire to move. 

A personnel director worth his salt should make every ef- 
fort to find an employee who can fill a higher position or job 
before going outside the organization to look for someone. 
I admit that it is easier to cast a net into a fair-sized labor 
pool and bring up a good employee than to go through the 
tough grind of prying someone loose from an executive who 
must have his replacement. And the executive from whom 
his replacement comes must have his replacement. And 
maybe still farther down the line the same. So really, with 
all that work and consultation and even intrigue staring you 
in the face, it takes moral courage to refrain from saying, 
a Oh, Til go outside and get somebody.'' 

This reflection leads us to the conclusion that a promotion 
program to be successful must be well established, thor- 
oughly upheld by management, and completely understood 
by labor. You may be able to chart promotion and give 
each new employee a chart of the road ahead of him. He 
then knows what he can expect, and he can decide how to 
prepare himself for advancement. 

You do not need me to tell you that people are living 
longer, holding jobs longer, and keeping younger people 
from getting promotions. The problem is not academic. It 


is real, here; today. It is a problem for management. Pri- 
marily, it is a problem for society. 

It does not pay most young men to jump from company 
to company. The business faith of our commercial fore- 
fathers was that you got with a good company and worked 
your way up. If the head of your department was a gaffer of 
some fifty years of age, you could have hopes that movement 
in the department would not be long delayed. Now it is get- 
ting to be that a young man who takes a job with a company 
with the thought of working up the ladder right there finds 
enough elderly but spry gentlemen ahead of him to keep 
him filling inkwells for the next forty years. Well, that's the 
way it looks to him anyway. 

Lateral Transfers. — The straight transfer to another de- 
partment on approximately the same level is a two-edged 
sword. It cuts for the employee and it cuts for the fore- 
man. It is only a method of seeking to repair a bad situa- 
tion. Either the foreman is fed up with the employee or 
the latter is fed up with the job or his surroundings or his 
boss, or he sees that he is in a dead-end job and wants to get 
out. It does not matter whether the grievance is real or 
fancied. There it is. You have to deal with it. 

Interviews may keep the worker on the job. If your inter- 
views are only mollifying sops and do not reach and cure the 
basic conflict, then they are failures. The volcano will be- 
gin to seethe again and time will bring another eruption. 

Since money has been paid out for hiring and training, it 
is the duty of the personnel director to keep an employee on 
the job or on some other job if he can. But I admit that 
you might as well fire at once the maladjusted whose con- 
duct indicates that they will repeat on new jobs. You may 
deserve criticism for having hired them but don't court the 
further criticism which may follow further efforts to make 
such employees paying investments. It is all right to be 
humane, but one can go too far and accused of 
trying to turn the plant into an eleemosynary institution. 

When you make a transfer, your hardest work is with the 


executive or foreman who is on the receiving end of the line. 
"What's the matter with the man?" is the stock question 
born of suspicion and experience. And you have to be there 
with a convincing answer. It takes a convincing sales talk 
to get anyone over that hurdle successfully. 

What was said about promotions can be repeated here : a 
transfer at the request of the employee should not rob a de- 
partment. It should not be made until a satisfactory re- 
placement can step into the vacancy. You can't transfer an 
employee and leave a machine idle or a position on the sales 
floor uncovered. 

Requests for some transfers are like smoke coming out of 
the hatch of a ship. There is a fire in the hold. The em- 
ployee who has a gripe may be only a symptom of a bad 
situation. Bad direction, bad working conditions, bad any- 
thing else. The man himself may be a bad hombre. Be 
sure to check that possibility. Transferring the employee is 
only a palliative if it is successful only with the one em- 
ployee. Where the man is not himself to blame, transferring 
him only puts another in his place to suffer the same ennui, 
inconvenience, infelicity, or injustice, to say nothing of the 
others in the department who are no better off. So request 
for a transfer may be the "Stop, look, listen — and investi- 
gate" sign for you. Heed it. 

The pleasantest transfer is one where the employee real- 
izes that he cannot go any place where he is and asks for 
a transfer to a position where there is a vista ahead of him 
instead of a stone wall. The very fact that he is smart 
enough to recognize his predicament and confident enough 
to want to get out of his fish bowl and into a stream where 
he can try to swim upstream makes you want to help him. 

He is different from the employee who sits at your desk 
and asks for a transfer without any thought of how he 
should have prepared to enlist your interest and support. 

"I've been here five years, and I think I should have a 
transfer to a place where I can get a chance to make some 
more money and get somewhere." 


"Yes, Jim, you're right. You have a dead-end job. 

"Well, that's it. What can you do for me?" 

"What have you done for yourself?" 

"I've looked around in other departments. I don't see 
anything. That's why I have come to you." 

"Yes, after five years. But you haven't told me what 
you've done to make some other department head want 

"What do you mean?" 

"What have you done to prepare yourself for another 

"I haven't done anything." 

"What better job do you want?" 

"Oh, I don't know." 

"Well, the employees who get ahead are the employees 
who know what they want. While you have been idle for 
five years, other employees have been going to night school 
or taking correspondence courses in bookkeeping or shop 
practice or accounting or business administration or draft- 
ing or salesmanship. They are the ones who are really try- 
ing to go places, but you — no. Now please go away and 
don't come back here until you can convince me that you 
have a hop on the ball. Then I'll try to help you." 

I do not see any reason to tear my shirt for that employee 
until he tears his own shirt a bit. 

Where transfers are necessary, from a managerial stand- 
point, to handle changing shifts or production pressures, 
you are facing a different situation from one where there is 
individual dissatisfaction. The managerial transfer bal- 
ances the need of one department against that of another. 
Employees who are to be moved are told rather than con- 
sulted, but I think there ought to be the opportunity for 
employees of some years' standing to say what they think 
about the order. At least they can register any desire to 
get back to their old work when a switch can be made. Sen- 
iority warrants that. 


When an employee asks his department head for a trans- 
fer from one division to another in the department, it re- 
moves the transaction from the purview of the personnel 
director. The procedure adopted must govern to its climax. 
Either the employee gets his transfer or he does not. Only 
if he does not get it and then appeals to the personnel de- 
partment is there occasion for you to help him if you can. 
The situation has been canvassed as far as his own depart- 
ment is concerned. You might work out something there. 
but more likely you will have to make a transfer to some 
other place if it is possible. 

Less Status, Less Money. — A demotion is any change of 
status that lowers one or more levels of an employee's in- 
dividual standing. If the change affects adversely the de- 
partment as a whole or all of a standardized group, it is not 
a demotion in the sense I use the word. The employee can 
be given a less responsible job. That is a demotion. It may 
not carry with it lowered remuneration. This happens 
where a company with a heart and a pocketbook decides to 
keep a superannuated employee but must assign his duties 
to someone more active. 

Demotion is necessary where there has been personnel mis- 
placement. The employee is found inadequate to the job. 
This happens sometimes at the threshold and sometimes 
when there has been a promotion to a position beyond the 
capacity of the employee. In the former case it is not hard 
to downgrade. Being new, the employee is on probation, 
and management has no responsibility beyond that of pro- 
tecting itself after an error has been discovered. The em- 
ployee must accept demotion or dismissal. 

Where demotion must come to an employee with some 
years of service, the situation is complicated. On one hand 
are seniority, good work, and loyalty. On the other hand is 
lessened production or service. No elderly employee faces 
a demotion with equanimity. The need for it (where there 
is no recourse to a pension plan) in most cases is inexorable. 
Management occasionally may find a solution for some em- 


ployee favored by record or friendship, but in most cases 
management must be self-preservative. And self-preserva- 
tion demands production and service in line with pay roll. 

The personnel director has a hard task where he is the 
one delegated to notify the employee of his lowered status 
and pay. It would be helpful now if he could have started 
to prepare the man for the interview ten years previously. 
What is faced for a long time as a fact of living does not 
have such crushing impact when the day comes. Perhaps 
Social Security with the frequent iteration of its message 
about the passing of time will be helpful in accustoming 
employees to the thought that they will not always be at 
their peak. In addition, I think that company literature 
to employees can handle the question with skill and delicacy 
to get the idea implanted that time takes its toll of all of 
us. That is what I mean by having ten years in which to 
prepare for an interview. 

Not everyone can be as lucky as I was on one occasion. 
An old man was fighting against being put on pension. 
While we were right in the heat of the battle, a rather easy, 
dignified job turned up at about half the salary we paid the 
old man. I put him on the job without a cut and without a 
qualm because the new job's pay plus what his pension 
would have been equaled what he had been paid in his higher 
position. Management did not lose. So management was 
not unhappy, I was happy, and the old man was very happy. 

Some companies have a rule refusing an individual a trans- 
fer to a position paying less money than his present one pays, 
even when he wants it as a steppingstone. This sometimes 
is an injustice and works a great hardship. The employee 
can either stay unhappily in his present position or resign. 
For example : A man is getting $42 a week. He does not like 
the work or he sees no future where he is and wishes to get 
where he believes he can go places. You peddle him to de- 
partment heads and find no one to take him because of the 
price. However, you find a congenial opening at $35. Per- 
haps it has a future. Anyway, the applicant for transfer is 


willing to take it. In a sense it is a demotion. Management 
says No. I think such a policy is unwise and unfair. 

The Layoff. — When business is bad, a small company may 
lay off one employee at a time. When business is seasonal, 
a group may go at one time. Larger companies will get as 
many off the pay roll as they can at one time. They must 
make substantial savings, and the quickest savings are on 
pay rolls. The rule-of-thumb way to do it is "Last man on, 
first man off." But it is often not so easy as that. 

Layoffs are complicated by considerations of efficiency and 
— where a company is thoughtful — of the financial ability of 
employees to handle family responsibilities should they lose 
their jobs. Unless you are bound by a union contract that 
definitely specifies seniority only, you have these considera- 
tions to weigh. Theoretically, only efficiency should be the 
test. Actually, family responsibility should be taken into 
account too. Given a passing degree of efficiency, the most 
weight should go to years of service plus loyalty. 

If there is no hard and fast "last man on, first man off" 
policy, then rehiring need not be "last man off, first man 
on." Then you can pick and choose among the former em- 
ployees available. In such a case separations from the pay 
roll have not been layoffs. They have been dismissals. 

The Employee Resigns. — Resignations will not be so 
much trouble to you as discharges, except for the trouble of 
finding a replacement — sometimes with very short notice, 
sometimes with none at all. The pleasantest ones — if any 
of them are pleasant, because each means more work for 
your department — are where the employee is leaving after 
due notice to go to another town or to a better job or, as is 
often the case with young women, to get married or to have 
a baby. 

Yet even where separation is by resignation, exit inter- 
views are highly important. The department employee is 
released from the inhibitions pertaining to the employer- 
employee relationship. Often he will talk freely. A sym- 
pathetic listener may acquire a great deal of information off 


the record. Do not be surprised if a few adroit questions 
sometimes bring out a reason for leaving that is not the pub- 
licized one. 

The Employee Is Discharged. — Except where an employee 
is totally irresponsible, any discharge presents an unhappy 
situation for both him and a conscientious management. It 
is the last resort. It is the end of, a long or short trial-and- 
error period. Error gets the nod, and out the employee goes. 
If ever there should be a time for an executive to exercise 
kindliness and understanding, it is when he is discharging an 
employee. That is why some companies call upon a trained 
personnel department to handle any such severance. 

No discharge should come as a surprise, even where the 
departmental force is being cut down. Here we are discuss- 
ing discharge for cause. There should have been warnings 
that foreshadowed separation, since they have not served to 
prevent it. The greater the length of service, the greater the 
patience should be. Where there has been inability to meet 
standards, there should have been explanations and further 
training. Where there has been disobedience of rules or the 
tragic inertia of the indolent, there should have been firm 
remonstrance with emphasis on the consequences of further 

Do not forget or let executives forget that a discharge can 
be more the fault of the foreman or division head than of 
the employee. No executive should fly into a rage and dis- 
charge an employee while in this unpardonable state. A 
phony boss can fly into a rage, yes; but he is just making 
a fool of himself if he does. An executive should be in 
control of himself when the time comes to announce sever- 
ance from the pay roll. It is to prevent trigger-quick firing 
that many companies, and I think rightly, insist on any 
proposal to discharge being referred to a higher ranking 
executive for approval. When a man has to justify his de- 
cision, he is certain to make sure of his ground. 

More and more employees are coming under union protec- 
tion, which means defense against unreasonable discharge. 


For this reason too it is wise for management to have a re- 
viewing authority where there is a union contract. Contract 
or no contract, there should be review. Perhaps the over- 
executive or the personnel director can find another place 
where the man can be employed profitably. You have an 
investment in the employee. Try to salvage it. Some com- 
panies will not allow a man to be discharged without the 
approval of the personnel director. As a member of the guild 
I am in favor of that — provided the personnel director is 
competent! Let me interject here that no person on the 
pay roll can be worse for a company than an incompetent 
personnel director. I mean it. 

With the decline of the power of the foreman has come 
the curtailment of his power to discharge. This decline is 
due in part to recognition of the unfairness with which many 
foremen have exercised this power. But let me add that the 
reason foremen have not been better personnel executants is 
the fault of management itself. Let us be thankful that 
more and more companies are acknowledging their respon- 
sibility by instituting training courses for foremen. At least 
we can hope that the day will come when every organization 
will arrange for compulsory courses to teach foremen how to 
lead instead of drive. 

The Exit Interview. — No matter how the employee is 
severed from the pay roll, he should have a personnel de- 
partment interview just before he leaves. Some will not 
come. You cannot make them unless you arrange to have 
the final check delivered by the personnel department . Even 
then you cannot make a departing employee talk if he does 
not wish to do so. You should not appear to wish to have 
him do so. Some are eager to talk. Listen. Others are de- 
termined not to say a word. Such are perhaps the most use- 
ful sources of information if once they open up. No talk 
you have in the personnel department can require more 
finesse on your part than an exit interview. 

Why should you have exit interviews? To cement good 


will for your company where severance has been amicable. 
To create as much good will as possible where things have 
gone wrong. What are you to do with the information you 
acquire? Mostly use it as background material for future 
reference, especially if the lid is lifted over a malodorous 
situation. Even when you get to be an old hand at person- 
nel work, you will hesitate to make immediate use of what 
you learn. Perhaps that caution is what will mark you as 
an old hand. 

Remember that a personnel director works more often by 
persuasion than by precept. You don't start trying to per- 
suade a phony boss, however, while he is still in a trium- 
phant mood over firing someone. Let him, as Polonius de- 
signed, "by indirections find directions out." Of course, if 
you learn something monstrous, your duty is to consult im- 
mediately with management. That will not happen often, 
if ever. 

Getting Out and Getting Back. — There are several ways 
of getting off the pay roll with a string attached. All of 
them should be allowed employees, but only under rules 
carefully formulated to protect your company against prece- 
dents. Most precedents which I know have a habit of lying 
low for several years and then rising up and kicking you in 
the face. (Personally, I would rather break a precedent than 
break an employee's heart; but, generally speaking, break- 
ing either is bad business.) 

What are some of the reasons for getting out with the 
thought of getting back? Maternity leave. That is a "nat- 
ural." Leave of absence to carry on union activities. That 
is necessary. Leave of absence to establish Reno residence 
and obtain divorce. That is highly necessary. Sick leave. 
If the medical department says so. Layoff for discipline. 
This works fairly well in some instances. Leave for military 
duty. Patriotic. Leave for jury duty. Also patriotic. Leave 
in order to try out a new job elsewhere. I am against such 
a leave except under exceptional circumstances. At the mo- 



ment I can think of only one reason for taking the employee 
back — that his absence proved him to be almost indis- 

Being Paid for Having a Baby. — Our pioneer, merchant- 
prince grandfathers would turn over in their graves could 
they see how women have invaded the business world. They 
would turn over several times could they know that many 
business firms not only give leave to a woman who is "ex- 
pecting" but also give her several weeks' salary as well. It 
is good business. It is part of union strategy to press for a 
maternity leave with some pay while negotiating to renew 
any contract that does not provide it. 

How long should a woman be on a pay roll before she is 
entitled to apply for maternity leave with whatever benefits 
are correlative? It seems to me that a good time limit is 
that found in contracts of mutual benefit associations pro- 
viding hospital care. The waiting period after joining is 
usually eleven months. But this waiting period is a matter 
of company policy, and what one company does need not 
set the limit for another. One company I know sets no 
limit. Its contract merely states, "Maternity leave of at 
least six months shall be granted, with four weeks' pay." 

The crux of the leave as to time antecedent is bound up 
with payment of maternity benefits, such as this four weeks' 
pay. It would not matter how short a time a woman had 
worked if she were just getting a leave. But 'there does en- 
ter a consideration of what is a fair period of qualifying 
employment if she is drawing $30 a week and as a maternity 
benefit would be paid $120. 

I am glad to see maternity leaves given with supplemen- 
tary wage payments. It is in line with the social trend. 
There are no data on the number of t wives who ask for leave, 
take the maternity allotment, and then never return ! More 
interesting would be data on the number of mothers who on 
deciding not to work any more after their babies arrive offer 
to return the money which was given them. I may add that 
I have never known of a young woman not married who ap- 


plied for a maternity leave. If one ever does, I am in favor 
of granting leave with contract pay. A prospective mother 
is a prospective mother according to the contract, and she 
should be paid whether you regard her as courageous or 

Leave for Union Work. — Where an employee is elected 
to any union position that requires his full time, he should 
be allowed a leave of absence. Usually this is for work in 
his own unit or as an officer or organizer for his union's na- 
tional headquarters. Where officers are elected for a term 
of one year, that is the period of the leave. Union work not 
dependent upon an election should not obligate the em- 
ployer to grant leave for more than one year. The right to 
ask for an extension should not be denied. Personally, I 
should restrict such leaves to union employees who are to 
engage in managerial or organizing activities. I see no rea- 
son to grant a leave to an employee who is merely to be a 
bookkeeper or a clerk in a union office. Leaves should be 
considered specificially in the contract with the union. In 
this section wisdom dictates a statement of the number of 
employees who may be on leave during the life of the con- 
tract and also their allocation by branches and departments. 

Legal Reasons for Leave. — Going to Nevada or Florida to 
establish a residence precedent to a divorce is reason enough 
to grant a leave if you wish to get your employee back. Such 
employees are, for the most part, in your high-salaried 
brackets. They are the ones you do not wish to lose if they 
are any good at all. If you don't let them go, they may 
quit. If you refuse leave and they don't quit, then you only 
feed the fire of their matrimonial neurosis and make them 
still more unhappy. Of course such high leaves are not ar- 
ranged with the personnel department. You hear of them 
almost as rumors. 

There are other legal reasons for leaves of absence. To go 
back home to settle an estate is one. Valid. To engage in 
litigation to preserve a legal right. Valid, I say. To serve 
on a jury. Valid. To engage in military duty. Valid. 


Since jury duty is usually haphazard as to time, jurors 
often being excused and losing only an hour or two for that 
day from their duties, my guess is that most companies take 
no cognizance of the jury absences of office employees. De- 
partment heads just look on their jury duty as a piece of 
hard luck. However, where an employee is locked up on a 
jury or, what is less drastic, spends full time in the jury box 
for a week or two, that is different. The company need pay 
nothing, but of course it usually does in the case of salaried 
workers. One rule is for an employee to report his pay as a 
juror and from his company receive the difference between 
his salary and his legal stipend. Employees in the plant on 
an hourly basis seldom rate this company largess. About the 
only reason I can advance as an explanation is that "it has 
never been done." For one thing, before the era of high 
wages a man could make as much as a juror as he could as a 

Sick Leave. — Here is something to be handled by the 
medical department. Its word is final under the general 
policy which management has established. A medical leave 
may carry all or part pay or none at all, or payments may be 
made for a specified number of weeks according to the em- 
ployees' benefit plan in force. 

Disciplinary Layoffs." — These temporary separations from 
the pay roll are for infractions of rules. All I ask is that the 
rules be well understood. If they have been well publicized, 
as you might say, then no employee should be able to plead 
ignorance. If a motorman runs past a red light, he gets laid 
off without pay. A rule should be as plain as a red light. 
A two weeks' layoff is as tough a punishment of this type 
as an employee should be made to suffer. (And don't for- 
get that his family suffers — maybe more than he does.) 

Leave to Try Out a New Job. — This is a leave with which 
I am not in sympathy. I think I have said already that 
where a workman is unhappy with his lot it may be well to 
let him make a tour of other plants to try his selling skill, 
pitting his ability against the cold touchstone of personnel 


directors' appraisal of his ability. If he finds someone who 
thinks better of him than you do, let him go with your bless- 
ing. If he does not find an opening, then he will return a 
sadder and a wiser man. It is to be hoped that he will be a 
more contented man. At least he should have discovered 
that his own company is not trying to hide his light under a 
bushel, since no one else had thought it bright enough to 
serve as a lure for a better offer. 

Of course I can imagine a foreman saying to good old 
Charley, "All right, Charley, you go over to the ice plant and 
take a job. If you don't like it, come on back." That atti- 
tude does not make me think much of good old Charley or 
of the job he is quitting. I suppose my streak of individual- 
ism makes me feel that an employee who pioneers a new job 
should be sturdy enough to take his chances, burning his 
bridges behind him. 

Vacations. — If you call a vacation with pay a leave of 
absence, this is the place to speak of it. Such a vacation is 
supposed to be a period of relaxation and change of scene 
which will put the employee into physical and mental condi- 
tion to face a new stretch of fifty weeks of work with vigor 
and complacency. Instead of regarding a vacation as a 
process of building for the future, however, most employees 
look on it as a reward for past performance. They fight to 
get it or its money equivalent when leaving the company be- 
fore the time when the annual vacation is at hand. 

Instead of philosophizing about the rise of the paid vaca- 
tion, it is more accurate to describe the descent of the va- 
cation. It seems to have started at or near the top of the 
industrial pyramid, and only in the last decade has it been 
getting down to the wage earners, the men and women out 
in the plant. It started among those who needed it least 
and spread to the staff of what you might call the "palace 
servants"; then it spread to other white-collar workers. 
Now it is reaching the level where it is welcomed and de- 
served just as much as it is by the class on salary. 

The unions maintain that employees who get paid vaca- 


tions produce so much more because of the rest period that 
in the course of fifty weeks their output equals that of fifty- 
two weeks with no vacation. (Or do they?) Anyway, they 
press for paid vacations. Management is losing the battle ; 
retreating, but maintaining that paid vacations increase the 
cost of production. 

Of course an obvious reply is that paid vacations among 
white-collar employees increase the cost of production. Yet 
it is not so simple as all that. The ratio of employees to pay 
roll is not the same, and generally speaking the white-collar 
employees remaining on the job are able to shoulder the work 
of the vacationists and carry it on. Whereas, let us say, a 
wage earner on vacation leaves a machine idle or else man- 
agement must provide a paid substitute. 

When the vacation is to be taken can be a battleground. 
Choice of the time may depend on seniority or on plant 
shutdown for repairs or inventory or on the decision or whim 
of a foreman or executive. The control is camouflaged under 
the contract phrase, "at the convenience of management. " 
Sometimes the personnel director is called on by an em- 
ployee to take up the cudgels to get a certain time. But he 
does not have much of a fighting chance, although his cause 
may be just, because his adversary is armed with the "at the 
convenience of management" phrase. The boss has him 
there. If he cannot charm with sweet reasonableness, then 
the employee has appealed in vain. 

Another troublesome vacation problem is to fit the time 
of an employee to the vacation time of a spouse working 
elsewhere. Invariably I have found that the husband or 
wife working elsewhere is bound into a set period that al- 
legedly not even an Act of Congress can change. So it is 
always put up to me either blasphemously or tearfully to 
get my company to change the set period we have estab- 
lished. For years I have been on record as favoring sepa- 
rate vacations for most husbands and wives. It just occurs 
to me that an additional reason might well be to prevent 
wear and tear on personnel directors. 


Some employees have plans for a vacation period longer 
than that allotted with pay. Whenever possible, additional 
time within reason should be granted without pay. If the 
additional period is more than a couple of weeks, then to my 
mind it comes under the heading of a general leave and 
should be considered on that basis. I anticipate that we 
shall have a multitude of such leaves requested in the next 
few years. Many employees will be eager to go back to the 
scenes of their military prowess and there fight over their 
campaigns for the benefit of their starry-eyed wives. No 
doubt a number will wish to go back without their wives! 

How long should the vacation be? Standard practice for 
workers on salary should be two weeks to all employees of 
one year or more of continuous service ; one week to all em- 
ployees of less than one year but more than six months of 
continuous service. However, some companies give only 
one week for the first year and no vacation at all for less. 

Executives and division heads usually rate vacations of 
from three to four weeks. Employees with a certain length 
of service also get longer than the customary two weeks. 
Three or four weeks' vacation is often given for service from 
fifteen to twenty-five years. Efforts are being made by 
unions to cut the time down to five years. 

Wage earners must keep to standard weeks of work hours 
to earn their vacations. Where salaried workers have a 
week of forty hours, that may be the basis for those paid by 
the hour. However, some union contracts call for less, thirty- 
five hours in some instances. The contract determines the 
week. All vacations are figured without inclusion of over- 
time. If extra days have been earned, they may be added to 
the vacation. If a holiday is one of the vacation days, a day 
is added to the vacation in some contracts. 

Part-time employees on the pay roll throughout the year 
are entitled to vacations. A fair adjustment is to allow one 
day's vacation for each 200 hours of work for a year termi- 
nated on some certain day in the spring. Thus an employee 
who had worked 1,000 hours would get a week's vacation. 


Vacations are usually taken in the summer, but there are 
no real reasons for it except the convenience of manage- 
ment (if it is a convenience) and the fact that summer hotels, 
special tourist attractions, and the weather make the season 
a pleasant one. Yet now that the country is mad about ski- 
ing and other winter sports we shall see the younger em- 
ployees asking for their vacations or parts of them when the 
snow flies. Even now the older ones are interested in Cali- 
fornia and Florida. 

I do not see why a vacation should not be divided, half 
summer, half winter, or any other way. Convenience of 
management should rule, but it is a pretty tight manage- 
ment that cannot make satisfactory arrangements in most 

Some companies permit cumulated vacations. Foregoing 
two weeks in one year gives four weeks the next. This is all 
very nice, but it argues that there is no need for a vacation 
at all if it can be postponed for another twelve months. 

Holidays. — If^God hadjnot decreed a day of rest each 
week, one of the greatest inventors of all time would have 
been the man who invented Sunday. Extrapolating the idea 
a bit, perhaps we should sing the praises of the man who 
invented Saturday as an additional day of rest. There are 
other days — holidays — that pleasantly punctuate the year 
for employees. Always provided they get paid for the day! 
The standard holidays are New Year's Day, Washington's 
Birthday, Memorial Day, July Fourth, Labor Day, Thanks- 
giving, and Christmas. Lincoln's Birthday is a matter of 
geography and emotion. Most states have special legal or 
public holidays; some have election days, Lee's Birthday, 
Easter Monday, to say nothing of King Kamehameha Day 
in Hawaii. 

Do what you can to help the holiday spirit. These days 
are as beneficial for the company as they are for the em- 
ployees. We can almost say of all holidays what Winston 
Churchill said of one, "A holiday of rejoicing is necessary 
to the human spirit." 


Religious holidays are for those who are of the faith. 
They are allowed as a matter of course. The fact that one 
of these holidays is taken does not warrant making the ad- 
herent work at a later date on some general holiday not rec- 
ognized by him as religious. 

Again — the Exit Interview. — When an employee leaves, 
whether he resigns or is thrown out, there is always a reason ; 
often there are several. Whatever the cause of the sever- 
ance, as has been said earlier in this chapter, it is always 
valuable for the personnel director to know it. He may or 
may not transmit the gist of the interview to management. 

It is always welcome, hearing something pleasant — and a 
personnel director does not hear too many pleasant things. 
(It would be nice if management said a few more nice things 
to a conscientious personnel director.) Well, it is pleasant 
to have an employee say on leaving that everything has gone 
well with him on the job, that he has liked everyone, that he 
is only leaving because outside forces make it necessary for 
him to go. . 

But you have to watch your step when you are assured 
that everything has been serene. You may have an under- 
standing of what you may call the milieu or the mise en scene. 
You know it was not generally a happy one. Then what you 
wait for in the interview is overtones. Some departing em- 
ployees who have not been happy come to see you resolved 
to live up to the admonition of the old song, "Always leave 
them laughing when you say good-by." The overtones of 
the interview are what betray them. Unconsciously they let 
slip some statement that reveals that all has not been as 
sweet as they would like you to think they believe. 

Nobody can tell you how to handle the interview from 
this point. You learn best by experience. When I tell you 
to be a good listener and not appear to pry, I have done the 
best I can for you. In staging a play a director will say, "Just 
throw that line away." He means to utter it casually, not 
to point it up. The exit interview, when the employee 
wishes to get his check and scram after a few polite inanities, 


is the place where you can throw away lines successfully. 
They direct the flow of thought, clarify it, and release it in 
all honesty and sincerity. 

If an employee is departing in high dudgeon, listen pa- 
tiently to his side of the controversy whether he is right or 
wrong. Usually he is raucously vocal and needs no delicate 
urging to pull out the full diapason of his anger. He is not 
much good to you because you already know pretty much 
what he is going to say. 

Even when an employee gives a reason for leaving that 
alleges some unpleasantness and, therefore, passes muster, if 
you wait for the overtones you may find yourself developing 
a totally different tune from the talk. A quiet modest girl 
was leaving a packing department w T here she had been em- 
ployed a few weeks. She said the work was monotonous. 
Yet there was music and there were rest periods. The per- 
sonnel director listened for the overtones. The story came 
out. All the others in the department were women of thirty 
or thirty-five years of age*. They were either married or 
should have been. Their conversations were so frank, to put 
it mildly, that they proved embarrassing and distasteful to 
the girl who was inexperienced and modest. She resigned — 
because "the work was monotonous." 

The personnel director switched the dissatisfied employee 
to a group of girls her own age. As far as I know she is 
there yet. The lesson he learned from the interview was 
this: do not put a youngster in the packing department. 



Foremen — supervisors — are the front-line leaders of the 
business world. Generals plan battles, but it is the corporals 
and the sergeants and the expendable lieutenants, leaders of 
little groups, who stake off the gains in yardage. Just so the 
foremen, leaders of little groups of employees, win the bat- 
tles which management plans and directs. They are the low- 
est rung of administrative officialdom, but if that rung is 
rotting and unstable, then the ladder is unsafe for manage- 
ment above and labor below. 

Labor-relations arguments involving foremen are proba- 
bly more heated than those involving the workers them- 
selves. There is controversy by them and about them. In 
these debates there is truth on both sides. The battle rages 
over whether or not foremen are part of management or just 
workers entitled to labor-union status and with that status 
empowered to sit across the table and bargain with man- 
agement. One who reads everything written about the con- 
troversy may well find himself bemused by the citations and 
bewildered by the arguments. 

First of all, who is a foreman? What does he do? An- 
swers may be given in a few words. Yet the scope of the 
answers can be so amplified that they fill a large book. He 
may be called supervisor, gang boss, crew manager, or any 
other word denoting leadership. Each word connotes deal- 
ing not only with things but with workers. 

Who Is a Foreman? — The foreman is that representative 
of management who is just above the workers. He is the 
immediate force activating the workers with the authority 
vested in him by management. He is the person to whom 



the workers look for orders. His orders have to do with work 
assignments, which affect materials, machines, and workers. 
In addition, he may plan the work, inspect for quality and 
quantity, keep records, and train. To be successful, he must 
have the attitude of an executive, power over his group, and 
general recognition of that power. Within the limitations of 
company policy he manages as if he were managing his own 

The foreman, as we know him, came in with the industrial 
revolution. When he is no longer an important part of 
management, we shall see the end of industry as a product 
of our free enterprise and individualism. Management 
should do everything to train its foremen and support them. 
Personnel directors should cultivate their good qualities and 
seek their intelligent cooperation. 

Foremen as Part of Management. — Owing to misguided 
company policy and more often to ignorance or indifference, 
through the years foremen have been slighted by their su- 
periors. Such an attitude has now borne the Dead Sea fruit 
of ashes. Many foremen are seeking to protect themselves 
through unions. Despite the wrongs these men have suf- 
fered in many instances, the call to unionize is a siren's song. 
You may draw and quarter me for my opinion, but with my 
last breath I shall still maintain that foremen are an inte- 
gral part of management. 

The foreman is an executive dealing with production and 
workers. He has no more right to belong to a foremen's 
union than the treasurer has a right to belong to a treasurers' 
union or a vice-president to belong to a vice-presidents' 
union. A union bargains with management for its members. 
It cannot bargain for the treasurer or the vice-president. He 
is a part of management. No more should a union be em- 
powered to bargain for a foreman. He is a part of manage- 
ment. That is logic to me, and I hold that it is good sense. 

If the foreman has wrongs to redress — and in many cases 
he has — his right of redress is within management, not as a 
member of a union sitting across from management. As an 


administrative official, he cannot serve two masters or have 
two masters serve him. 

I make no apology for bad management that has driven 
many foremen to seek union protection. I do not defend 
it nor seek to gloss its defects. I think defects should be 
brought into the light, studied, and reformed. But union- 
ization is not reformation. 

What the Foreman Does. — He is an executive, an ad- 
ministrative official, acting in the interest of an employer. 
He is responsible for production, using materials, machines, 
and workers. He is responsible for personnel, often aided by 
staff departments. He is head of his department just as 
much as a purchasing agent or a sales manager is head of 
a department. 

The foreman's responsibility for his machinery and his 
materials is unquestioned. The machinery must be in work- 
ing condition. The material that flows into his department 
must be processed with dispatch and passed on to the next 
department in condition for prompt processing there. He 
must be a good housekeeper. 

It is when we turn from things to the men and women un- 
der the foreman that the personnel director comes into the 
picture. Happily, when he finds the foreman successfully 
coping with the human element. Unhappily, when he finds 
the foreman is a misfit. The list of personnel activities in 
which the foreman engages is an exhaustive one. After con- 
sidering it, anyone who maintains that he is not an admin- 
istrative official, a part of management, has as evasive a 
definition of the word as any sovietized Russian who defines 

A personnel director should have a clear understanding of 
what the foreman does all in his day's work. Remember 
that many a foreman does not do all the things now to be 
listed, but he certainly may, where company policy is en- 
lightened, personnel procedure standardized, and authority 

In the first place, the foreman may reject or hire an appli- 


cant sent him from the employment office. He may train 
workers, especially if training is on the job. He may advise 
about the rate of pay. He rates the performance of his 
workers. He watches over their health and safety. He del- 
egates tasks and supervises the work. He promotes, de- 
motes, and transfers, often only by consent of an executive 
above him. He may lay off or discharge a worker, this too 
often only by consent of higher authority. This consent, 
after review, is for the protection of the foreman as well as 
for the protection, if need be, of the worker. 

The foreman can prevent many irritations from becoming 
grievances. He is the primary personnel director, handling 
human nature where trouble originates. By his skill and 
tact and disciplinary power he can smooth the molehill be- 
fore it becomes a mountain. Where the matter is of such 
seriousness that it is beyond his administrative resources, he 
can yet exercise unquestioned influence by his preparation 
and presentation of the facts in dispute. A good personnel 
director has a strong ally in a good foreman. 

Speaking of preparation for grievance discussion reminds 
us that the foreman is a record keeper. These records are a 
continual progress report to management. Exact conditions 
in his department can be read from them: how many ma- 
chines are down, how many are limping ; how the material 
is running in relation to standards; how much is being 
wasted by a training group, how much is spoiled in han- 
dling; what men are absent or have been tardy, what 
men are establishing piecework records, what men deserve 
or require a change of status. All these things and many 
more management may read' from the records the foreman 
prepares. Records may be so multitudinous that a record 
clerk must be attached to the department to prepare them. 

Keeping Management Informed. — The foreman is an in- 
terpretative message center. Management can get from him 
far more information than is contained in the records and 
forms he submits, f He can be a two-way transmission belt 
of information: down to employees in orders and declara- 

FOREMEN - 261 

tions of company policy; up to management in production 
achievement, suggestions from employees, and notice of 
morale-shifting attitudes which range all the way from 
subtle to sullen. The foreman reads the pulses of the em- 
ployees. The personnel director charts all these readings, 
making them in to to & morale cardiogram. 

You will not have much of a chance to do a good job in 
developing your foremen as two-way transmission belts if 
your Big Boss looks on you only as a superclerk and is not 
himself, through you and others, seeking to open every av- 
enue to an understanding of his employees. He may order 
the latest machinery, but if he lags too far behind the chang- 
ing personnel relationships, a change mirrored in part by the 
unrest among foremen, you can never do so good a job as 
you should be capable of doing. 

Today the stature of a Big Boss is measured more by his 
attitude toward the people who work under him for a daily 
wage than by his keenness for his machinery, his produc- 
tion, and his sales. Look with suspicion on the Big Boss 
who is not eager to know what his employees are thinking. 
His foremen can tell him. If possible, see that they have 
opportunity to do so. 

What the Foreman Must Know. — Perhaps you think I am 
spending too much time discussing foremen. I do not think 
so. I feel strongly that the more a personnel director knows 
about foremen, the better the job he can himself do. You 
may have to arrange a training program for them. It is, 
therefore, better for you to know more than less about them 
and about what they must know and do. 

What the foreman does depends largely on what the fore- 
man knows. What he knows depends on how he is trained, 
self-trained or company-trained. It is better for everyone 
concerned if he is company-trained. 

I have always been interested in watching how uniformly 
good at fashionable sports are the children of well-to-do 
families. Childhood and youth are schools for social posi- 
tion. To play a good game of golf or tennis, to ride horse- 


back correctly, to skate gracefully, to play a good game of 
bridge — these are social assets. Consequently, teachers are 
provided during the formative years who condition their 
charges so that they give good accounts of themselves. Far- 
sighted parents know the value of training. 

To me, there is a lesson here for personnel directors. A 
lesson for management. A Big Boss may see that his sons 
are taught what helps them in their social world but still be 
blind to what helps his foremen in his business world — train- 
ing. Their lack of training hurts his own pocketbook and 
those of his shareholders. Frankly, he hasn't thought about 
it that way because when a money nerve twinges and we un- 
derstand why, we look about for some means of relief. The 
personnel director can provide the relief in a well-formulated 
program of foreman training. 

Well, what does a well- trained foreman know? He knows 
company policy and is kept informed of changes in it as 
they are made. He knows company rules in their entirety 
as they apply to his division. He knows union restrictions 
and how to meet them and contain them. He knows job 
specifications in his department. 

Getting back to our sports analogy, some youngsters are 
"naturals." They can excel in a game just by the training 
practice and competition give. Very well, I shall agree that 
some foremen are "naturals." They can assimilate all the 
things I write that a foreman should know. But why not 
be sure? Why not put even the "naturals" through a train- 
ing course? I should be very much surprised if it could 
teach them nothing. Even then, as a refresher course it 
should make them a little keener on their jobs. 

Don't think I pointed out in one paragraph everything a 
good foreman should know. He has to know how to assign 
work. That means he must have appraised what each of his 
workers can do, if he has a choice in assignment. Then he 
must know how to inspect work in progress and supervise 
workers on the job. He is the one who determines the rat- 
ings of his workers. There is a check on these by the execu- 


tive over him and a further check in staff comparisons with 
other sections, divisions, or departments. But if the fore- 
man does not do a good rating job, he has a hard time ex- 
plaining to those under him and those over him. Training 
will help him. 

The foreman has to know how to hire and fire, whom to 
hire, and when to fire. Hiring is an art and firing is a tribu- 
lation. In hiring, the foreman is helped by the screening 
your employment office does, but in the end it is the fore- 
man's responsibility. Firing is firing, no matter how po- 
litely you disguise it by calling it pay-roll severance by 
management. What makes it a tribulation is that no good 
executive wishes to cut off a man's livelihood. The better 
trained a foreman and the more he knows, the less likely he 
is to have to let a man go. His selection will be more careful, 
in a good labor market, and his handling of the worker will 
be more intelligent. 

We old-timers all recall the two-fisted boss who would hire 
a man or have him thrust on him and then declare in a day 
or two, because it turned out he didn't like the cut of his jib 
after all, "111 fix it so that so-and-so will draw his pay Sat- 
urday night." And it would be so unpleasant for the worker 
that by Saturday night he would decide he would be happier 
in the packing house across the tracks. Personnel directors 
are trying to get rid of such bosses. Where it can't be done, 
the goal is training that teaches the two-fisted driver more 
finesse. Such bosses have been the best organizers the unions 
could have. Employees need protection against them. 

But the shoe can be on the other foot, and the boss — the 
foreman — needs protection against the union! This comes 
best from training. Protection is obtained by knowing how 
to prevent grievances and how to handle them when they 

The foreman should know the reasons for keeping records 
and be convinced of their reasonableness. He should know 
how he can protect his men against illness and accident — 
and never let his alertness flag. Good housekeeping is con- 


ducive to health and safety, but it is also necessary as a 
matter of economy and consistent production. The fore- 
man must know what to do, and the personnel director — 
through channels is safest — should see that he knows. 

How to train is an important subject for a foreman to 
know. Unless he can train his men properly, he is no more 
getting the best out of them than management is getting the 
best out of him if he is not well trained. He must also train 
someone for his own job, just as he should conscientiously 
train himself for the position above him. Many a foreman 
has missed the boat because management has said, "If we 
give him that job we'll have a time haling the place he holds 
now." Reprehensible? Maybe, but it is human nature. 

Human nature — that is what a foreman should know best 
of all. To change a bit what I have said heretofore, the 
business world would probably have moved ahead a little 
faster if the translators of the "Xew Testament" had trans- 
lated Saint Paul's famous admonition as "And now abideth 
Faith, Hope, and an understanding of Human Xature, these 
three; but the greatest of these is Human Xature.'' 

No two persons are alike. If you are to get 100 per cent 
cooperation, no two can be treated alike. How employees 
differ and how to get the best from them is what a good fore- 
man has to know. Admitted that some foremen have more 
intuition, have learned more from experience, they, as well 
as the poorer ones, can be greatly improved by a course in 
human relations. If any cannot, they are too hidebound or 
ignorant to be foremen. Learning about human nature 
points up a foreman's sense of justice. Unless he knows 
what justice is and how to administer it in his own realm, 
his workers suffer and his management does too. 

Expecting the Unexpected. — Anyone can be foreman, 
boss, executive when things run smoothly. The good fore- 
man is the one who is accurate in aim and quick on the trig- 
ger when things go wrong. He hits the bull's-eye — immedi- 
ately. What he does is resolve a crisis. When there is no 
crisis, routine does it. The boss can sit back and listen to the 


purr of the machinery. Production is smooth and automatic. 
Let there be a enarl of men or machines and the foreman 
must be right on top of it. He is paid to know what to do. 
That is the time he must show the leadership which is in- 
herent in his position. His success depends on his back- 
ground of knowledge, his instant comprehension of the facts 
of the moment, and the judgment exercised in making his 
decision. He must know; and knowing, act. 

Curtailed Authority Is Weakened Authority. — From what 
has been written, you have learned the responsibilities of 
the foreman. Now let us see how those responsibilities are 
often curtailed. Some have been taken away through the 
laudable desire to lighten his load. But in giving him staff 
assistance, his authority has been weakened. His stature 
has been decreased. It is all part of the trend to divide jobs. 
The simplification speeds production, but it makes robots of 
the workers. To speak of a robot foreman is to couple two 
words of diverse meaning, yet that is what the trend implies. 
Go far enough and you get a robot foreman. 

The foreman has responsibility for getting out produc- 
tion. The first thing management does is to establish a 
planning department. Right and proper, no doubt, but 
some of the foreman's responsibility is taken away. Next, 
management centralizes hiring or selection in the personnel 
department, and personnel sends a representative to put new 
employees into their jobs. Then management establishes 
an inspection department and a training department. More 
responsibility is taken away. Then a grievance committee 
is instituted, and formally or informally the foreman is by- 
passed. More authority evaporates. Along comes the safety 
engineer. An important functionary; yet his authority 
takes away something from the foreman. The employee is 
late or tardy. He has to visit the personnel department to 

And so it goes. Responsibility without power is a shadow. 
So finally the foreman sees himself as a shadow boss. What 
is worse, that is the way the employees under him regard 


him. It even happens that with a little overtime they have 
more money in their pay envelopes than the foreman has. 
That is unthinkable, but it happens. No wonder in an in- 
dustrial world where the foreman is having so many func- 
tions blacked off his chart, where shifts of work-emphasis 
may demote him, where pay increases of his workers are not 
final with him, where he has no free hand in discipline — no 
wonder the foreman has to look at a check list to see what 
he is really responsible for. When all these things are taken 
from him, not much is left on his check list. Xo wonder he 
feels that he cannot be any worse off if he joins a union. 

It seems to me that so much is being done to supplant the 
foreman because he has not been trained to meet his respon- 
sibilities. He is the victim of management's lack of vision 
and the changing organization chart of industry. Now when 
he decides that he is only a worker and is entitled to the 
protection of a union, management wakes up to the fact that 
he is a fine fellow and should be one in the solidarity of the 
higher executives. All of which makes me laugh. Manage- 
ment spilt the milk and the union cat is lapping it up. 

Training Foremen. — The training of foremen has been 
covered in Chapter XII, but it will not hurt to repeat some 
of it here. There are three methods of training men and 
women for supervisory positions: lectures, conferences, and 
personal contact. Each has its advantages. Perhaps all 
three will be used in an extensive training program. 

In preparing a program you must always bear in mind the 
mentality of your foremen. You w T ill probably find in some 
plants that for the most part their school larnin' did not ex- 
tend more than halfway through high school. (There is a 
difference between mentality and formal education, please 
note.) They quit school to go to work because of economic 
pressure. That fact places their home background for you. 
Lectures are a little tough for them. Probably the confer- 
ence method will be more satisfactory. Personal-contact 
training cannot be carried on with all foremen on all points 
to be stressed. 


There is only one cardinal principle, presupposing the im- 
portance of the content: Never be dull. Your audience does 
not have the patience or the training to combat dullness. 
I do not discount the foreman's shrewdness or experience. 
Dullness may consist in talking too much in explaining what 
foremen already know. It may consist in talking in terms 
too erudite for the audience. Clearness, force, and ease, 
those three stand-bys of your college rhetoric, are guideposts 
for a program for foremen or workers or anybody. 

Teachers or trainers? They are hard to get. When you 
consider how few real teachers there are in the world, do not 
be discouraged in your search. It is hard enough to find 
teachers who know their subjects well enough to command 
the respect of foremen. Added to their knowledge, they 
must have teaching enthusiasm and skill. I wish you luck 
in your search. Unless you find such teachers, your pro- 
gram will languish. 

Read all you can on the subject of training, then adapt 
what you learn to your special conditions. I personally be- 
lieve that all your training should have as its goal the 
strengthening of the position of foremen. They should have 
more respect and cooperation and contact and friendliness 
from those above them. They should be taught more about 
their own problems of production and even more about how 
to respect and employ the potentialities of their workers. 

A Hearing for Foremen. — The criticism of foremen that 
employees voice before they have union protection is the 
same criticism foremen express in their frustration when 
there is conflict with higher authority. The employees' crit- 
icism has been that the foreman has been both prosecuting 
attorney and judge. He made the charge and decided 
whether the culprit should be heard in his own defense. 
Then he rendered judgment and saw to the execution of the 
sentence or the decree. That is too one-sided, especially 
when the foreman is prejudiced, opinionated, or just plain 

Well, just move the complaint up one step and you have 


the foreman making the same criticism of how his own griev- 
ance is handled by the superintendent. There is now this 
difference — if my contention is correct that the foreman is 
a part of management (and I hold it even if I am one against 
the world) — the foreman has no organized support in the 
handling of his case. 

You know how hard it is for a person to present his own 
case, to paint his own good aspects in the best colors and per- 
spective. That is why actors and authors and lecturers have 
agents. The agents earn their fees because they do a good 
presentation and selling job. A man looking for a good job^ 
will often employ a high-class agency to advertise him to 
the companies where he wishes to make a connection. The 
agency can and will say about him those things that if he 
had said them himself would seem to be boasting. # 

When a soldier comes up for court martial, an officer is 
assigned to defend him before the military court. A foreman 
is entitled to the same protection. Of course I am now talk- 
ing about serious grievances or accusations against him based 
on conflicting testimony, I think someone in the company 
should represent the foreman — someone with a position that 
makes him easy in his role of counselor, able to meet prose- 
cutor and judge without any feeling that he is not on equal 
ground. He can sum up better than the foreman. He may 
be better able to point out what justice dictates, or clem- 
ency, as well as to analyze and present facts. 

Stand Up for Your Foremen. — Stand up for your front- 
line leaders, your foremen. Do what you can to see that 
they get good pay, security, respect, and recognition for work 
well done. 



In plants where the employers look upon employees as 
machines, that point of view is always resented, as it should 
be. In such plants employees are expected to do only the 
minute subdivision of work into which industrial engineers 
have simplified and thereby speeded production and, un- 
questioningly, do the miniscule job without relating it to the 
whole, without any understanding of company aims or even 
department obligations. Theirs not to question why. Em- 
ployees are no longer content to work in a vacuum. They 
may never have been content, but certainly they have never 
been so vocal as now. 

Employees are human beings. Have they not "hands, or- 
gans, dimensions, senses, affections, passions"? They have. 
Then why not recognize that they are "fed with the same 
food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same dis- 
eases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the 
same winter and summer" as those who hold the purse strings 
and the direction? It should be recognized. It will be. 

In accepting a medal for his work in education Dr. Alvin 
Johnson pointed out that Americans have the habit of work- 
ing in groups. (That is what a business organization is, a 
group.) Then he added that it is the custom to single out 
one member of the group for a medal, as he was himself on 
this occasion. Yet he did not accept the medal for himself ; 
he accepted it for his working group. Well, I say that is the 
way it should be. To the business leader must be given the 
medal, in terms of financial reward and satisfaction of place, 
but he must share with others in the group. In this chapter 
I am not talking about sharing money in any proportion or 



sharing status. I am talking about sharing to some extent 
the whys and wherefores, the aims and the accomplishments 
of the organization. 

Now let us see what the personnel director can hope to do 
to help bring a better day. Some things he can sneak over. 
Other things he can do only if he has the support of manage- 
ment. It is a shame to have to speak of "sneaking some- 
thing over," but that is the way it is in many organizations. 
And so it will be until the pressure of public opinion and the 
pressure of unions and the growing social consciousness of 
employers bring about the true partnership of those who 
direct and those who labor under them. 

The Company Magazine or Newspaper. — Here you have 
a great force for interest and understanding and solidarity — 
if rightly used. Do not confuse this publication with the 
company house organ. The latter is a promotion for the 
product addressed to customers and sometimes to suppliers. 
The house organ may contain matter of interest to em- 
ployees, but that is not its primary purpose by any means. 
It should be edited and distributed by the advertising or 
the promotion department. The company magazine or 
newspaper, created to promote better employer-employee 
relations, is distinctly a responsibility of the personnel di- 

\ The purpose of a publication for employees is to give news. 
Here "news" means more than "news" in a newspaper. Here 
it means any information within the organization's scope 
that makes life easier, security greater, surroundings safer, 
work more efficient, associations with fellow workers pleas- 
anter, and relations with those above and below more har- 
monious. That is such a big order that no sane personnel 
director can trust the editorship to anyone ranging from a 
clerk who imagines he can write to a broken-down newspa- 
perman. I have great sympathy for any broken-down news- 
paperman, just as I have for anyone else who has broken 
down, but I would not give him a job editing an employee 


If your company does not have a publication for its em- 
ployees when you take over a personnel department, do not 
start out too ambitiously. It is better to grow from an acorn 
to an oak tree than to dwindle from an oak tree to a lumber 
pile. It is all right for a company with 30,000 to 50,000 em- 
ployees to have a slick-paper magazine with superduper il- 
lustrations, layouts, and articles by nationally known writers, 
but you should not start with a spirit of emulation. Any- 
way, such a magazine is not in quite the same groove as 
what you have to get out. You have to produce an almost 
spontaneous newssheet for employees, almost entirely by 
employees. The secret of success lies in that "almost en- 
tirely by employees." 

Experience shows that when management puts a heavy 
hand into the direction of a .company magazine or news- 
paper the publication is almost inevitably headed for the 
doldrums and disaster. The reason is simple. Management 
has not been clever. It has used too large a spoon in feeding 
employees treacle or sulphur. Readers resent being spoon- 
fed. Or management has censored too heavily. 

Let us call our publication the plant newspaper. That is 
what it is, no matter what the format or how often printed. 
If you publish it once a week, you have a hard time rinding 
enough real news to make readers eager to get it. If you 
publish it once a month, you have a hard time maintaining 
continuity. Publish it twice a month. To do that will keep 
everyone jumping. If the editors do not jump, the plant 
newspaper will limp. 

Who provides the material for the newspaper? The em- 
ployees. Every department should have a correspondent. 
The editorial staff is picked from these department repre- 
sentatives. The over-all editor may be you, but better still 
a professional. You may not get a 200 per cent editor, but 
you can try. That ideal man should know his newspaper 
work 100 per cent and his company 100 per cent. In addi- 
tion, he should be able to put real newspaper zest and in- 
genuity into a staff of amateurs. 


To be specific : Your editor should be able to train his staff 
and keep each member at concert pitch, to write or rewrite 
the material, to write the headlines, to lay out the pages, to 
arrange for the pictures, to fight with the printer, and to 
produce a newspaper all the employees will be eager to read. 
What is more, he should do this while keeping his weather 
eye on company policy, printing health and safety educa- 
tional matter as news, and letting the good things the com- 
pany does tell their own stories and preach their own simple 
sermons of cooperation, faith, and friendliness. 

You will have to develop such an editor yourself in all 
likelihood. If you go out and locate a paragon, you will 
probably find him already tied up in a contract. He should 
be. Once you get him, you can keep him busy full time or 
sometimes farm him out to the promotion department for 
booklet writing or research. Whatever he does along these 
lines will give him just that much more authority in writing 
for you. 

Remember that employees are more interested in them- 
selves, their own problems, and their fellow workers than 
they are in their bosses. So leave the board of directors and 
top management to the society columns and the business 
pages of the daily newspapers, while your plant newspaper 
goes in for the intramural bowling-club scores and the plans 
for the basket picnic, the shower for Mary Alice who is going 
to get married next week, and the sketches of employees 
who are successful on their jobs. 

Any size is a good size for a plant newspaper if the con- 
tents are interesting, but a sheet, say, 8% by 11 inches is a 
good size. It takes three columns of type well. Increase the 
page to 11 by 14 inches and you get a good four-column page. 
Since you will not print a great many copies, you can afford 
a good grade of paper. You should insist on good book pa- 
per, because the better the grade of paper, the better illustra- 
tions you can have. 

The company should pay the entire cost of the publica- 
tion. It should be distributed free to all employees. What 


does the employer get out of it, aside from the dubious pleas- 
ure of paying the bills? He gets a better spirit of employee 
solidarity through wider plant acquaintance of fellow em- 
ployees with each other and with plant aims, resources, and 
policies. From a collection of departments mayhap alien to 
each other he gets the friendliness of the village where 
everyone knows everyone else. He also gets a forum where 
in unselfish fashion (if management is wise) policies are 
revealed, plans publicized, and good work acknowledged. 
These things make for lowered turnover, less tardiness and 
absenteeism, general cohesion, and identification of the em- 
ployee and his group with the general organization itself. 

No need to tell you to print as many personal items as 
you can : births, marriages, vacations, awards, anniversaries, 
anything that punctuates the routine of living. Then too 
the plant newspaper carries news, bulletins, and notices of 
social and athletic activities. To give fragrance to the nos- 
talgia of old-timers and to arouse the interest of young em- 
ployees, there are stories of the good old days or biographies 
in the Horatio Alger vein which tell of the employee who 
rose from office boy to auditor or some other exalted po- 

Editorials should be short, written in words for the 
most part derived from good old Anglo-Saxon. Educational 
stories about the products and their ingredients bring the 
romance of far or unusual places into the business. Re- 
productions of a current advertising campaign, with com- 
ment on the reasons why, are always interesting if the com- 
mentator knows how to comment. And pictures, pictures, 

If I say any more about a plant newspaper, I'll be selling 
myself the idea that it is so interesting I should go out and 
get me a job as an editor. Well, if I did I would have a lot 
of fun and do a lot of good. 

Bulletin Boards. — Unfortunately, employees do not pay 
much attention to printed or typed notices on bulletin 
boards. On those few occasions when you have a company- 


shaking announcement to make, someone will see it casually 
and start word-of-mouth dissemination of the news. Then 
it will sweep through the organization. But just ordinary 
notices, even when they have some implications of value to 
a host of employees, do not get enough reader attention. 
Perhaps the reason is that in some companies bulletin boards 
are about as tidy as an October rainswept billboard with the 
tatters of a twenty-four-sheet poster announcing that the 
circus will be in town in August. You cannot find a current 
notice amid the debris. Keep your bulletin boards neat, un- 
cluttered. As soon as a date has been passed, take down the 

Posters on bulletin boards get more attention than typed 
or printed notices, just as a full-page newspaper advertise- 
ment gets more attention than one that is three inches, dou- 
ble column. However, posters are expensive to make, and 
often they completely fill your boards, leaving no room for 
your smaller, official notices. A poster should be a big splash. 
in two or three colors if possible, and should have very little 
wording, in letters large enough so that he who runs may 
read. Unless it is a serious announcement, a poster illustra- 
tion should be of the cartoon type, humorous and exag- 

Keep in a scrapbook copies of notices that have been on 
bulletin boards, noting on each the days it was on display. 
This avoids arguments with employees who later insist that 
they were not notified of the opportunity to get tickets for 
some attraction at a reduced rate or to join some cultural 
class or benefit through some other general invitation. 

You may also be charged with company surveillance of all 
union bulletin boards. These are put up in compliance 
with contract provisions. This obligation works more often 
in reverse : more often you have to police your own boards, 
tearing down notices of ignorant or too-enthusiastic union 
members who pin their own publicity on company bulletin 

There are bulletin boards that are strictly information 


centers for one department only. These are none of your 
concern. But it is the part of wisdom to have a look when- 
ever you pass one. Often what you read contributes to your 
over-all picture of the department. 

There are, of course, company bulletins never intended 
for your bulletin boards. These are from management to de- 
partment heads and sometimes down to division heads and 
foremen. Even where you are not directly concerned, which 
is seldom, all these bulletins should come to you for your 

All bulletin boards are under the control of the personnel 
department, and nothing should be put up except through 

Information Peddled with the Pay. — Short, succinct 
statements, which should have the punch of the legend on 
a poster or car card, can be given 100 per cent circulation 
among employees by printing them on pay envelopes. Leaf- 
lets can also be given out with pay checks. These are good 
mediums to promote safety and health campaigns, appeals 
for funds in connection with municipal drives, and any other 
purpose that can be covered in a few words. 

Do not expect too much in the way of immediate results 
from these forms of company advertising. Like spot an- 
nouncements on the radio, they are reminders. They sup- 
plement other, more vigorous methods of attracting atten- 
tion and spurring to action. Yet despite the fact they are 
minor forms of spreading the news, do not neglect them. 

Company Financial Statements. — One of the humorous 
bits of shadowboxing in which negotiators for labor indulge 
when bickering and dickering for a contract is to challenge 
management to produce its books. Labor employs shrewd 
economists. In fact, they have been shrewder than capital 
economists in # their coaching of their negotiators. Manage- 
ment economists are accused of failing to deploy figures to 
the best advantage. They do not put on so good a show as 
the labor economists. Also, the latter can come pretty 
close to guessing what the books would show if they were 


opened. It does not matter much whether or not the books 
are opened. German industrialists found this out after the 
First World War when the books were opened to labor ne- 
gotiators by the Weimar Republic. So the request is just 
a bit of needling that is mischievously satisfying. A gadfly 

The nearest thing to the production of the company's 
books is the publication of the public annual report which 
companies make for the benefit of stockholders. It is getting 
to be good practice to issue this with some explanatory data. 
The cold figures are humanized and dramatized. And here 
is where the personnel director can do a good job in preparing 
and distributing the humanized report for the enlightenment 
of workers. 

With the aid of a company accountant who has not been 
ossified by awe of rigid, austere, secretive superiors, a per- 
sonnel director can work out an understandable exposition of 
where the money comes from and how it is spent. The sec- 
ond part is of more interest to employees because that is 
where they are cut in. I do not believe a personnel director 
can do this unaided. If he could make heads and tails of a 
typical report without help, he would be so smart that he 
would not have to remain a personnel director. 

Of course management has to be sold on this. The prac- 
tice is increasing and in time may be almost universal. 
Where the annual report is skimpy, cut down to the barest 
legal requirements, additional figures should be supplied. 
This is where your company accountant is particularly valu- 
able. He knows what to ask for ! Whether he gets it all is 
another matter, but at least you, and he have tried. I am 
not cynical about this, in fact I am rather hopeful, but I 
know the intransigence of the members of the old regime. 
I should know them ; I grew up with them. 

If enough information is forthcoming, your document, in- 
stead of being an illuminated annual report to stockholders, 
becomes a distinct report to employees of the state of the 
business with special emphasis upon the stake they them- 


selves have in it. In this latter statement the door is open 
for the inclusion of anything pertinent to what the company 
has done and to what lies ahead to do, together with the 
part employees can play in the doing. 

Employees will probably be surprised to learn how much 
money goes out in taxes. It has happened that government 
has taken out of a business more than either labor or the 
owners. Why have long-haired men and strident-voiced 
women mounted soapboxes to yell for government owner- 
ship of industries when the government was already doing 
so exacting a job with its financial snickersnee? Conditions 
are better this year — but there is a long way to go. 

A report to employees should start with the financial back- 
ing and show how it has been used in procurement, manu- 
facturing, and merchandising. Units of money are turned 
into units of goods which, at the end, are turned into 
units of money and allocated or distributed. I don't care 
what business you are in, you can make it a fascinating 

If you go into a report to employees, sprinkle it with 
charts. Pie charts are excellent for enlightening the nonsu- 
perintelligent, including me. 

Your Local Newspaper. — This is small-town stuff. Per- 
haps, I say perhaps, you can get your local newspaper to 
carry a column once a week or more giving news of your 
employees. The more names of employees you get into your 
column, the more welcome you will be in the newsroom. The 
newspaper will take your news with the thought that it will 
build and hold circulation. This is a matter that is between 
you and the city editor, and I cannot tell you what is ac- 
ceptable news. In twenty towns there could be twenty dif- 
ferent standards. I can tell you this: Don't offer tripe — 
any story that is gushy or overwritten or barefaced adver- 
tising or absolutely trivial. Just tell what employees are 
doing on the job and off the job and what new orders or jobs 
or processes there are and what shifts in personnel have been 
made. Most plant anniversaries fit in here, but births and 


deaths are spot news, news that should be in the next issue 
of the newspaper after it happens. The city editor may get 
spot news elsewhere, but he will be grateful if you telephone 
it in immediately. 

Meetings. — Whether or not you can hold meetings that 
all workers can attend depends on the space available for 
them to be handled comfortably en masse. Whether or not 
you should hold any such meeting depends on the impor- 
tance of the message. The meeting should be held on com- 
pany time. The purpose of the meeting should have some- 
thing to do with the advancement of company interests 
and in that I include anything of benefit to the employees 

Management will decide on the meeting and the program. 
If you are allowed to be helpful, be as persuasive as you can 
be in pointing out how to make it interesting. A time limit 
should be imposed on speeches by amateur speakers. Bet- 
ter still, don't have any! Only a very good speaker can tell 
his audience what he plans to say, then say it, and then tell 
them that he has said it. Others should say what they have 
to say and stop talking. And in that category I put the 
chairman of the board of trustees and everyone who is be- 
low him or brought in from the outside. The audience may 
listen quietly. It is getting paid to listen. But unless it is 
interested, the meeting is a flop. 

Someone with authority must preside, someone who 
knows how to keep the meeting moving. If there is audi- 
ence participation, the presiding officer must be able to side- 
track irrelevant matter, silence crackpots pleasantly, and 
with discretion and firmness, handle agitators who wish to 
fish in muddy water. In other words, he must be good. 

Look with a cold and cheerless eye on persons who come 
with requests that a meeting be held so that they can ad- 
dress employees. Offhand, I can't think of any reason why 
you should let your plant or store or factory be a sounding 
board for them. A meeting should not be held to promul- 
gate any social, political, or religious tenet or theory. Xo 


employer has a right to call a meeting for such a purpose, 
even if he is paying for the time lost. 

Group meetings, educational in character, are very impor- 
tant. Handling such a meeting is an art in itself. What has 
been said about the person who presides over the mass meet- 
ing goes for the group leader. In the technical field of the 
group meeting there must be mastery of the subject, unless 
the leader is merely a moderator. Then he should be ready 
to confess that he does not have complete knowledge and 
is there only to keep the meeting moving. But a leader who 
is supposed to be a plant authority must know more than 
anyone else in his group. Anyone invited from outside must 
know his subject better than those whom he addresses. Else 
why have him? 

Other group meetings, sometimes of foremen or foremen 
and picked employees, sometimes of management-labor 
membership, discuss general or special policies, spoilage or 
wastage, or any other question not covered by the contrac- 
tual requirements. These meetings are for free and informal 
discussion. Meetings under the contract are something else. 

There should be advance notice of a group meeting. The 
subject to be discussed must be announced. This makes it 
possible for members of the group to give thought in advance 
to the matter to be discussed. The group leader should have 
necessary charts prepared and other material on hand. The 
meeting room should have a blackboard. A screen and 
16-mm motion-picture projector and sound equipment 
should be obtained from the personnel department, if they 
are required. Also through this department should be requi- 
sitioned any required film from a government source or in- 
dustrial film rental library. 

Sometimes discussion groups are called together for one 
meeting or group meetings may be held at stated periods for 
a regular course. It is better to hold a meeting during an 
early morning hour because of the resilient feeling (we 
hope) of the participants, a feeling that dwindles as the 
day's work progresses. 


One of your most fruitful jobs, if you do it well, is the 
training of leaders for group meetings. 

Public Address System. — Save wear and tear on your 
public address system by using it for announcements as 
little as possible. Well, maybe there is no wear and tear, 
but there certainly is a drain on the pay roll. If you have 
twelve hundred employees who slow down an equivalent of 
a minute's loss of production time for each, there you have 
a loss of twenty hours. If time is worth 75 cents an hour 
to you, there you have shot $15. You could distribute a 
mimeographed announcement at the gate or cashier's win- 
dow for less than that. If you must make an announcement 
but can postpone it. for several hours, make it just at twelve 
o'clock or just at quitting time. Then the aforementioned 
employees can slow down for introspection or discussion on 
their own time ! 

Your Report to Management. — The periodic news of your 
own department is for a restricted number of readers. Let 
us say that you make an annual report, just as there is an 
annual report to stockholders. Who is to read it ? It is pre- 
pared for the president or the operating vice-president. 
Since you do not know to whom he will send it for review 
or discussion, you have to prepare it with the thought in 
mind that it may be read by any member of your company. 

If you do not wish anyone to read your report, make it 
long and intricate. Prepare a single-sheet statement of all 
the good things you have done. Then you are safe. Divide 
it into sections — employment, health, training, welfare. 
Just remember that you are providing management with 
ammunition that will be poured into you if you do not show 
that you are earning your salt. 

Your report has to show (preferably without your saying 
so) that your recruiting and employing is more satisfactory 
and less expensive than the old haphazard recruiting and 
employing done by department heads and foremen. You 
have to show how you save money and get better results by 
the active work you do with the training and health and 


safety programs. Labor turnover always interests manage- 
ment. You can be explicit here if you have a good story. 
Yes, and you had better explain a bad story if you can. 

Where you have taken over some new work, describe it 
and give three cheers for what you have already accom- 
plished. Point with pride to promotions from within. Ta- 
bles in the text slow down the reader. I prefer them all at 
the end. They look so imposing all together. You can run 
in some of your figures as punch lines in the text and refer 
to the tables for further data. 

The only place to run hog-wild is in the conclusion. If 
you must pile on the adjectives, this is the place to do it. It 
is just like waving the American flag at the end of a vaude- 
ville act. You are trying to induce a healthy, sympathetic 
glow as you say good-by. I hope you do. 


For a personnel director anything is incoming news that 
brings him information that can be useful directly or indi- 
rectly. You have to be as sensitive as a microphone. You 
should have a retentive memory. What may be an idle re- 
mark made to you today may turn out to be excellent back- 
ground material when a problem confronts you three months 
hence. News can come under two headings : that which one 
plans to obtain formally and that which is volunteered or 
unwittingly disclosed. 

Included in formal news you can catalogue house or de- 
partment bulletins, welfare suggestions in a suggestion box, 
an acknowledged morale survey, all the material offered for 
publication in your plant newspaper, the reports of your 
own division heads, the men and women in charge of em- 
ployment, training, safety, the medical department, the res- 
taurant, records, or whatever you have as a responsibility to 

What items of news you get that are volunteered or un- 
wittingly disclosed are picked up during interviews at your 
desk, while you are talking with one or another employee on 


a plant, store, or office visit, at group meetings, or during dis- 
cussions with executives or foremen. 

The Morale Survey. — Here you may get news in a whole- 
sale lot. It will come in such volume that it is the immediate 
concern of management. Some of it will not be news to you. 
If you have been some time on the job and have the feel of 
the organization, you will undoubtedly have already brought 
to the attention of management a number of the lowered 
morale attitudes. And undoubtedly you will have been 
brushed off. Had your warnings and requests been heeded, 
there would be no news now of these failures. The situations 
would have been corrected. 

Reporters for Plant Newspaper. — These departmental 
news gatherers are good for only the surface news. They 
bring you news of events that have affected the workers in 
the immediate past or will affect them in the near future. 
Some of these news items you can read as symptoms. With 
your personnel knowledge you can make use of them in diag- 
nosing some situation that is developing. Do not expect 
these amateur reporters to stumble on anything requiring a 
major operation. Besides, you cannot want them nor should 
you have them emulating the sleuthing reporters of a cru- 
sading newspaper. 

News from Your Own Staff. — A good personnel director 
always has a good padded shoulder on which an employee 
can cry. Some cry. Others burn with indignation. The 
personnel director just sits quietly, amid the oral pin wheels 
and Roman candles. Occasionally he puts in a word — not 
for reproof, not for advice, just for direction. 

It is well to know that one of these unhappy souls is com- 
ing to see you. It is also well to know in advance that he is 
liable to come. You can point up his background ahead of 
time. Perhaps you will have a tip from a department head 
or foreman, which also gives you what you might call man- 
agement's picture of the situation. What you are getting is 
news. Perhaps you will get most news, important and un- 
important, serious and humorous, from your own staff. 


Given a group of employees in your own department who 
are alert and personnel-minded, with loyalty and social- 
service enthusiasm, you will learn from them everything 
worth knowing which they can pass on to you. 

I know a personnel director who once told me that he was 
sitting pretty among a thousand employees where religious 
loyalties were strong. He said that he had one assistant who 
was a Catholic, another who was a Jew, and a third who was 
a Protestant. He had three sounding boards that were in- 
valuable. He himself went out and foraged for news among 
the freethinkers and agnostics. 

News from Interviews. — Your most authoritative news 
about specific employees comes from interviews you have 
with them. There is no intermediary. There are many op- 
portunities for interviews, some in the routine course of 
events, others by invitation, some unexpected and dynamic. 
Welcome each interview as an opportunity. 

Did you ever shop in a store that has a reputation for a 
high percentage of sales of costlier units to the gross num- 
ber of shoppers? If your sales resistance was too strong for 
a salesperson there, did you ever notice that someone seem- 
ingly in authority and with more sales force happened along 
and took over? He is the clincher. Well, you are the 
clincher in your department. Train your interviewers to 
turn over to you anyone who still appears in the least bit 
dissatisfied after his interview. Then you are sure to get 
the news first hand. 

Exit interviews are particularly valuable. In few cases 
will they result in the return of the employee to his old de- 
partment. In some cases they result in transfers to other 
departments. In all cases, if well handled, they will result 
in news, if only confirmatory, which you may assimilate as 
food for thought and then appropriate action. 

I have not written anything in this chapter with my 
tongue in my cheek. Nothing I have said would seem to 
say that sometimes a personnel director is a snooper. In 
urging you to learn all you can, get all the news you can in 


every honest way possible, I can only repeat the old truism : 
"Knowledge is power." And knowledge of what goes on in 
office and plant, in store and warehouse, on the road and in 
the yard is what gives you power to be helpful to your com- 
pany and to those who serve it. 


I think a discussion of suggestions can be properly ap- 
pended to a chapter concerned with getting the news from 
and about employees in relation to their work. When em- 
ployees have suggestions about better or more economical 
ways of doing work, they certainly are giving management 
news it should be glad to get. It should also be willing to 
make an award in recognition of the good news — and the 
best award is always cash. 

The trouble is that not every suggestion is valuable. Com- 
prehensive machinery has to be set up to handle them, espe- 
cially in those plants where there is a distinct bid for them. 
There are always more tares and chaff than good wheat. The 
losers in this free-for-all have to be handled as if they were 
bits of Dresden china. They are as temperamental and un- 
reasonable as expectant fathers. 

The philosophy back of suggestions is sound. It is two- 
fold. Suggestions bring to the attention of management the 
trained observations of employees who are in a position to 
see what can be improved. They also serve to build morale 
by giving proof, through awards, that management is cogni- 
zant of the workers' interest and is willing to share whatever 
saving is effected. 

Do not institute employee suggestions until you have sold 
management on their value, set up machinery to pass on 
them, established a sliding scale of awards, and educated 
employees to believe the plan is on the up-and-up. Not till 
these things have been done should you ask for suggestions. 

Management must be sold because lukewarm coopera- 
tion, halfway measures, and lip service get you nowhere. 
Management gives you the machinery and pays the com- 


mittee's awards. It must not only do these things but agree 
to a continuing ballyhoo in all forms of plant, store, or office 
publicity. An employee should be encouraged to make sug- 
gestions just as much in April and October as in January and 
July. Committees have to spend time examining sugges- 
tions. The awards have to be veritable ceremonies to get 
full morale value. These things cost money and company 
time, which is also money. 

Try to keep your committee work as simple as possible. 
The larger the plant, the more complicated the proceedings. 
In the large plant there are more opportunities to offer sug- 
gestions and the committee must handle more diverse recom- 
mendations for betterment. Any suggestion offered in good 
faith must go through the mill. The committee must have 
patience and tact. Sometimes it is wise not to reveal to the 
committee the names of those making suggestions. Both 
management and labor should be represented on the com- 

Nothing else is so pleasant as cash on the barrel — and soon. 
Awards should be money. They should not be long delayed. 
The ideal is to get action as quickly as you do when you put 
a quarter in the slot, pull the lever, and hit the jack pot. 
You and your management will have to decide what you are 
going to pay. It may run all the way from $2 for a sug- 
gestion to get a new cuspidor for the elevator starter to a 
participating royalty on a patent that saves thousands of 
dollars. It is wise to scatter a lot of $2 and $5 and $10 
awards, even if they bring back only $1 and $2.50 and $5. 
Charge the difference to employee-relations advertising. 
The employees will not know you are taking a loss, and the 
esprit de corps gets a shot in the corps. 

Before the plan is started, explain it to employees. Ex- 
plain it to foremen. Keep on explaining it until you get 
employee acceptance and foreman acceptance. Employees 
are leary of plans that may cut down the force or require 
more work of the group with no more pay. They must have 
confidence that as a group they will be cut in on the benefits. 


When you have a good publicity campaign going, you do 
not need suggestion boxes. They are just window dressing. 
A personnel department that cannot get employees to send 
suggestions to it or to the suggestion committee had better 
go out of business. Nothing is so doleful as a lot of dreary 
suggestion boxes scattered around a plant which gather dust 
instead of suggestions. 

Once you get your suggestions, get them appraised and 
get the employees rewarded, then do something about them. 
Revise your manuals and job specifications. Instruct your 
foremen. Put the suggestions to work through the proper 
channels. At the end of a certain period make a report in 
the plant magazine or newspaper of how successful each 
one turned out to be in actual operation. 



The annual budget of the personnel department itself is 
important, especially to its director, but the real budgeting 
problem which always confronts him is the budget of com- 
pany man power. A good budget is an orderly and reasoned 
forecast of requirements for the continuing economical ex- 
penditure of money for labor, material, and so on for definite 
purposes over a definite period of time. In this chapter we 
have under discussion at this point the forecast of the labor 
supply and what steps are to be taken to have qualified 
workers when and where they are needed. 

The Man-power Budget. — The personnel director is one 
of several engaged in preparing the general budget. The 
onus is not on him to decide the production schedule or sales 
schedule that governs the labor demand. The president of 
the company or the vice-president in charge decides on that. 
It then is the duty of subordinates to prepare a general bud- 
get which will serve management as a check on its expendi- 
tures for factory expense, material, and labor to get the pro- 
duction demanded, or the sales — and the nonsales — force 
required to move the merchandise in stock or on order. 

The personnel director has to work in terms of man-hours 
required to turn out the designated number of units or handle 
the dollar volume of sales. This may be a complicated oper- 
ation even when it is predicated on a constant flow of mate- 
rial and uninterrupted employment of sufficient equipment. 
It involves plant or store capacity, shifts to be worked, the 
labor pool, and the budgetary period. It is least complicated 
where the production or sales level set approximates that of 



a previous period. You are then working within the close 
lines of a control. The trouble comes mainly with expan- 
sion, occasioned by new products or processes or with sub- 
stitutions. Even where there are contractions, the trouble 
is serious because of transfers or what is more likely, lay- 
offs. A layoff always makes me feel that I am enmeshed in 
a tragedy. 

The general budget to which you contribute your fore- 
cast in terms of labor expense is for a determined period. It 
may be annual where demand has been stabilized and pro- 
duction can meet it. Allowances for monthly variations can 
be made by extrapolating monthly sales, with due regard for 
the spread between the time of making and selling the prod- 
uct. The budget may be for a seasonal period, and here you 
may run into wider variations, as in a canning season with 
a bumper crop or a retail season with thirty days of rain! 
Whatever the change of pace, your personnel man-power 
budget will take a beating. You are on the battlefield, and 
your budget strategy will have to give way to the best tactics 
you can devise to save the day. 

Who beside yourself has a hand in preparing your budget 
of company man power? First of all, the executives of the 
departments who will requisition labor. Together with their 
foremen, they will work out figures. Theoretically and also 
practically, the job analysts can make a good stab at the 
figures from the data they have on hand. However, I prefer 
to regard them as second-line troops. Let them check what 
the executives present. It does not do to take too much 
responsibility away from a department head. He has been 
told how much he has to get out or sell in a certain time. 
In turn, let him figure out how many men he needs to do 
the job. 

The statisticians — the accounting department boys — 
come into the budget-making picture to check and double- 
check. They figure out the pay roll for the many men 
needed at 87% cents an hour, the men needed at SI. 20, and 
so on. You may have such experts in your own department. 


but few personnel departments do. Where they have them, 
the companies are very large indeed. 

Your final check is with the general manager or store man- 
ager. He is the one charged with the coordination of the 
budget parts as they are assembled for the authorization of 
the president or the vice-president in charge. 

Reading Your Man-power Budget. — Once you get your 
budget down to a single sheet of paper, you have to break it 
up to make it work. You go back to your work sheets. You 
will find that there are constants in them and variables, and 
no two departments do you the favor of having the same 
man-power setup. One constant is the minimum of man 
power to keep a department running well. No matter what 
else happens, that pay roll is certain. The corresponding 
variable is the labor expense above the minimum. The in- 
crease may be to hurry a manufacturing order for export or 
to handle a sale of spring coats in the misses' department. 
In turn, this may mean an additional maintenance man for 
every six machines put into operation or two additional 
packers in the shipping room. You are the one to have them 
ready to do the job when needed. 

Another constant is your wage scale (if there is no con- 
tractual change during the period). Against that is a vari- 
able for overtime. You can also call an oversupply of labor 
to do the job a variable because you do not get value re- 
ceived. This can happen where you put an extra man on a 
truck only to find that he is not needed or send too large a 
flying squad to handle a sale. 

You have two prongs on which you can be impaled, and 
if you are not careful you may find both of them sticking 
through you. One is labor expense, because your budget is 
in dollars ; the other is labor supply, because the labor must 
be there to be bought with your dollars when you need it. 
Maybe the plant manager or the store manager or some 
department head should share responsibility for mistakes 
that pile up unwarranted labor expense, but you are on your 
own when it comes to labor supply. The first two steps in 


your job are to get labor and to train labor, and you and you 
only are the one to meet the budget demands for labor. 

When he is handed his authorized budget, the first thing 
the careful personnel director does is to look ahead. Getting 
employees is one operation in which, as the lawyers say, time 
is of the essence. Already he will know his sources of supply. 
Now he must figure whether or not the supply will be suffi- 
cient when he taps a source. 

The first source is among employees already on the pay 
roll. I do not refer to the rovers and the flying squads of 
retail stores. I refer particularly to employees in a manu- 
facturing department where, for seasonal or other reasons, 
work is slack and layoffs may follow unless transfers are 
made. These transfers are complicated by possible inability 
to acquire the new skill in time to give full production when 
it is needed. So here your training program is involved. 
And of course you cannot cross union jurisdictional lines to 
transfer an employee. 

If your forecast shows you will need skilled workers not 
coming from your own force, you must survey the market 
to see if your supply is there. If you are in doubt, you will 
have to look farther afield or start your own training course. 
Unless there is promise of at least continual employment. I 
do not think it wise to import skilled labor. Better do a 
training job. Then they are yours, part of your community, 
possibly available in the future if you cannot hold them on 
the pay roll. 

Incidentally, you will be in trouble with the budget com- 
mittee unless you have asked for sufficient leeway in spend- 
ing money for training. The expense will not be for trainers. 
Supposedly you have them already. It will be for the pay 
roll of the persons being trained and for spoilage. Both 
items are training expenses and should net be charged else- 

Unskilled workers in normal times are always available. 
They are the labor market's raw commodity. But still you 
have to do a screening job. Pick those you would like to 


make permanent employees if you can, in as many cases 
as possible with the hopeful thought that after a time you 
can upgrade them. 

About the best little book a personnel director can have 
is one with the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of 
capable part-time workers. They are jewels and not paste 
jewels either. They may even turn loss into profit for a re- 
tail store, and they are invaluable for companies that have 
peak loads. They are mentioned here because it is fore- 
sight to have them as a budgetary item. They may work a 
full day or more during the week or only a few hours each 
day, such as clerks behind the counters of retail stores from 
late morning to midafternoon. 

Here is a note of warning about part-time people. You 
train them and you lose them if you do not pick them care- 
fully. Workers who take part-time jobs because nothing 
else is available are no good to you. They spend their free 
time looking for full-time jobs and bow out almost without 

So when it comes to budget paring, don't pare your part 
timers. Because I am in a market with a large college popu- 
lation, I aim to get college students for my Saturday peak 
load. They have classes the other days of the week ; conse- 
quently, I am in no danger from September to June of losing 
them to some full-time employment. They are good workers 
too. Needless to say, they are more intelligent than most. 
Some stay on full time in the summer. A few after gradua- 
tion have complimented us by adopting us as a career. 

(To digress: We have some career grandmothers — I don't 
mean women who engage in grandmothering as careers; you 
know what I mean — who first came to us fresh from high 
school with rosy cheeks and hair in braids. There are grand- 
fathers too who started as office boys. Occasionally some of 
us hold confabs in the cafeteria and agree that no days now 
are like the good old days. And I suppose thirty or forty 
years hence some of the turbulent, irresponsible youngsters 
we see at tables around us will be speaking nostalgically of 


the good old days, meaning the very day when we old-timers 
sat together looking back so longingly. Well, so it goes. Life 
is a pattern shot through with episodes and incidents that in 
retrospect are lovely and pleasant to remember.) 

Some of you may not have heard of the trading of em- 
ployees. Perhaps you can put the plan into effect. It merely 
takes into account that what may be a slack season for one 
company may be a busy one for another. For instance, a 
jobber of dry goods may have a dull season in the month 
before Christmas, whereas a department store in the same 
city may then have its largest sales. So the jobber lets some 
employees go to the department store for the pre-Christmas 
rush. Both business houses win. The transferred em- 
ployees win too. They might have been laid off; if not, at 
least they are getting a change of pace and the opportunity 
to have a background of retail selling if later they are looking 
for a new job. 

Such a transfer is arranged through the two personnel de- 
partments. It can be done by any two organizations with 
employees capable of shifting from one to the other. The 
plan makes for stability of employment. 

The budget has to take into account more than the em- 
ployees on the assembly line or on the sales force. Any 
change in numbers here is likely to make a change in the 
numbers of nonproduction or nonselling employees. More 
or less materials and goods have to be moved in or out, more 
or less maintenance is in order. Requisitions for more help 
or notices of layoffs come from department heads, and your 
budget is affected. 

You will have to do a lot of explaining if you must ask 
for a supplementary budget. You may come out close to 
your dollar allowance at the end of the period, but the bud- 
get committee still will not give you a clean bill of health if 
you have gone woefully wrong in one department and man- 
aged to come out even by some fluke of saving elsewhere. 

The personnel director of a manufacturing plant has no 
such man-power budget trouble as has the director of a big 



retail store. The former deals in straight-line budgeting. 
The latter has a hundred departments where the unit sales 
run from a packet of pins to a Circassian walnut bedroom 
suite. And a girl who hands out the pins is paid far less 
than the salesman who sells the furniture. The former most 
likely pays little attention to the weather. The latter begins 
to sniffle if he sees a rain cloud; rain will kill many of his 
sales and if continued several days will rocket his percentage 
of sales expense. Often, then, there must be budget revi- 
sions that come from buyers, section managers, and super- 

The personnel director in a retail store has his hands full 
figuring out the relation of salespersons at set salaries to 
transactions they can handle under ordinary sales conditions 
and under pressure. He must use whatever figures he has for 
past performances in making his forecast and, at the same 
time, weight his answers with the intangibles he cannot get 
mathematically into his budget figures. 

If you think I have a wholehearted respect for personnel 
directors of big retail stores, you are right. I have respect 
for any good man in personnel work, but when it comes to a 
personnel budget, I have some extra words of praise for the 
retail brethren. 


I do not see how the preparation of the budget of your 
own department is going to cause you any trouble. You may 
have some arguments about borderline items, whether to in- 
clude or exclude, but in most cases these will come up only if 
the department is new and you are at work on the first 
budget. With an old budget to work from, you may have 
to make changes, as when you take over some division not 
previously regarded as a personnel department function but 
which in the growing importance of your department really 
belongs to you. 

Let us look first at those divisions or subdivisions that you 
must definitely budget. First of all is employment and all 


that goes with it: salaries of an employment manager, if 
you have one, interviewers and record clerks ; expenses and 
rent for a downtown office, if you maintain one. Next is the 
division devoted to training. What training is in-depart- 
ment and under the foreman of the department should not 
be charged to your budget. But your training director is 
charged to you. If you use him for other purposes too, you 
can allocate his salary to the divisions in which he serves. 
Where testing and training are threshold obligations in your 
department, then all expenses are yours. The same holds 
for upgrading training. 

Welfare work of all kinds is to have a place in your bud- 
get. This includes your employee-counseling service; the 
medical department and subsidiary activities, such as sani- 
tation ; the safety engineer, of course ; records, research, and 
statistical work concerned with employee relationships, in- 
cluding individual records of group insurance. 

A restaurant operation is so individual that I think it 
should have its own budget, although it is under your con- 
trol. As I have said, hire a good manager and let him be 
responsible. There is a big possibility that he will have a 
deficit, and that ought to be one splash of red ink that does 
not go on a personnel department page in the ledger. 

This book is written with my personal conviction that 
labor-management relations should not be a part of person- 
nel work. As you know by now, I think a personnel director 
can do more good if his department is divorced from what 
we may call "organized controversy." In the personnel de- 
partment budget, as I envisage it, you will find no figures 
for the payment of wages of workers attending grievance 
committee meetings or fees for lawyers and their expenses or 
arbitration expenses. 

Payment for suggestions that better production and sales 
or operations pertaining to them should be a charge to the 
account that benefits by the suggestion. Suggestions having 
to do with a personnel department activity or obligation 
should be charged to personnel. Since no one can tell how 


many suggestions may be approved or what payment will be 
made in the aggregate, a budget figure as a check on dis- 
bursements is a guess, and all you can do is to name a sum 
which you can call a "contingent reserve." 

Remember that a budget can be much like a chart of the 
Missouri River. You start piloting a steamboat from St. 
Charles to Yankton and to your surprise you'll find a sand- 
bar where your chart says eight feet of water; where you 
expect three miles of revetment the river is riding high, wide, 
and handsome over half a township. It's the pilot's job to 
get the boat to Yankton if he has to put it on stilts. Some- 
times you feel that's the only way you'll get to the end of 
your budget period. 


To some personnel directors statistics and statistical 
methods are the breath of life. To others they are only the 
fragrance of the painted lily. The former are the scientists 
of the personnel world. The latter are the artists. In the 
bigger organizations the scientists and their statistics flour- 
ish better because the soil is richer. The more people you 
have on your pay roll and the more operations they per- 
form, the more statistics you can grind out. However, no 
personnel director should ignore statistics. If they do noth- 
ing more than impress fellow executives by their volume, 
they have served a purpose ! 

Superficially, you might say that statistics are to a per- 
sonnel director what writing and publishing a book is to a 
college professor. Statistics help a personnel director to get 
on. They are a criterion of his interest and ability. Yet I 
do not believe that any Big Boss would think of going through 
all the masses of figures that some schoolmen and personnel 
scientists prepare. Just give him the answers and flash a 
sheaf of papers to indicate you have done a heap of figgerin'. 

When you deal in statistics, you make use of quantitative 
aggregate-observation as an instrument of personnel in- 
quiry. You make systematic arrangements of figures repre- 


senting primary statistical phenomena. Where there are 
large, changing groups of employees, the only way, quanti- 
tatively, to read the periodic changes of a group is by sta- 
tistics. They are necessary in establishing averages. In 
complex tables they give you data on various relationships, 
such as age groups to dollar sales or fatigue to production. 
This paragraph gives you some idea of the horrendous pos- 
sibilities of statistics. 

Be careful how you prepare your statistics. Do not be 
foggy in setting up a heading. Make it say with exactitude 
what the table is to show. You should not have any trouble 
setting up simple tables. Examples of these are in your an- 
nual report ; the number of first-aid cases handled by months 
with a column for the previous year for reference, the num- 
ber of additions to the pay roll by departments with a col- 
umn for the previous year, and so on. With columns for 
gains and losses and perhaps columns for percentages. 

Your trouble will begin when you start to combine pri- 
mary statistical quantities to form a complex table. Per- 
centage columns should be parts of many of your complex 
tables. Where you use averages, the heading should state 
whether they are arithmetical or weighted. It should be 
pointed out that you may also have to decide whether or not, 
instead of a weighted average, you should use a median fig- 
ure. You see, there may be such divergence from the aver- 
age that the median gives a better picture of the series. 

If your company is large enough for you to engage in per- 
sonnel research, then you will need plenty of statistics. In 
such a case you should have a statistical division or at least 
your own statistician. 

It would be foolish for you to do research where it has al- 
ready been done elsewhere. So when you decide to do a fact- 
finding job, search personnel literature to see what has been 
done already. You may be able to find what you are seeking, 
or it may be that you will only have to bring the findings into 
line with your own needs by a little supplementary work. 
Research is expensive and you must discuss with the Big 


Boss any exhaustive investigation proposed to make sure he 
understands what you want to do, why you want to do it, 
and what it will cost. 

I have warned you about the need for exactitude in pre- 
paring data. That warning should be doubled when it comes 
to reading and drawing conclusions from statistical tables 
prepared by outside agencies. You have to be sure that the 
phenomena used as primary have the form or matter that 
you yourself perceive when you speak of them. Since what 
you perceive depends upon your point of view, you have to 
approximate closely the point of view of the table before 
you. That is hard to do because you have no guarantee of 
the wisdom or carefulness of the one who prepared it. There 
is seldom the question of lack of good faith, but one should 
have that jn mind in studying a table prepared to support 
some supposedly specious pleading. 

If you are scientifically minded, you can go on from here 
under your own steam. If you are not, the best thing to do 
is to get someone from the accounting department detailed 
to you. Let him worry with such things as distribution, cor- 
relation, and the formulas that show you probable error and 
deviation. Tell him what you want and let him get it. But 
first make sure that you want it. There is no use in pre- 
paring statistical data unless the findings are used — and used 



Gone are the good old days when a man at the head of a 
business could jolly well do as he pleased. Now he has to 
have a battery of high-priced lawyers to help him stay in 
business. There must be a golden mean between the two 
extremes. I hope to live to see it. Meanwhile, personnel 
directors are getting as gray as the gods in the second scene 
of "The Rheingold" trying to keep out of jail, trying to find 
what regulations and laws govern them. They seem to have 
been multiplied in numbers like unto the locusts that swept 
into Egypt on the east wind. 

Just to make it hard for personnel directors, in recent years 
we have had innumerable directives added to Federal laws, 
state laws, and city ordinances. One cannot quarrel with 
the purpose back of all these directives and laws. Many of 
them are designed to protect the employee. But it is pretty 
hard on you when you get to your office on Monday morning 
to find that you are vulnerable to attack because you have 
already violated a directive issued by some obscure govern- 
ment agency on Saturday afternoon. Well, if it is not that 
bad, it almost is. 

The high-water mark for agencies with alleged power to 
tell you what to do came during the Second World War. The 
tide since then has been receding. My one hope is that hell 
and high water will not come again in my time. 


If you are engaged in interstate or foreign commerce, you 
must conform to the provisions of the National Labor Rela- 



tions Act of 1935. When you delve into the legal decisions 
which stem from it, you will be amazed at the number of 
operations that appear to you as innocent intrastate trans- 
actions yet by court decree turn out to be something else 
again. In other words, here is a tent under which the courts 
have crowded everything they possibly could. Retail scores 
are in the main outside, but in time state laws modeled on 
the Federal law will catch up with them. 

There was a very good reason indeed for the enactment of 
this law. Who can complain in theory about a law that is 
expected a to diminish the causes of labor disputes burdening 
or obstructing interstate commerce"? No one. No one can 
complain in these modern days at the affirmation of the right 
of workers to organize and bargain collectively or to be pro- 
tected against discharge for joining a union or in engaging 
in proper union activities. But in my opinion — and in the 
opinion of millions of others — the law is lopsided. Its ma- 
chinery has bedeviled management (and its personnel di- 
rectors) and, in many fewer instances, labor itself. 

I say this act is lopsided because the employer does not get 
an even break. Unions should be as responsible for their 
unfair acts as employers are — members of unions as well as 
union entities. Participants should be made to shoulder re- 
sponsibility for wildcat strikes. Also, in many instances 
union members do not themselves get an even break from 
their overlords. There should be standardized procedure for 
union election of officers by secret ballot. This might not 
prevent all crooks and unioneers from being elected to office, 
but it would give every union man an honest ballot. The 
cowed and the inarticulate would have confidence that their 
votes would be recorded without their being victims of re- 

The act created a National Labor Relations Board of three 
members. It has authority to make, amend, and rescind 
rules and regulations. So here you have a quasi-judicial 
body which makes the rules and can even change them in 
the middle of the game. It has its election agents and trial 


examiners and regional directors and administrative agents 
and legal lights and research delvers. To get from the bot- 
tom to the top is like going through two courts of chancery. 
And after that you have the Supreme Court in the far dis- 
tance. An employer who has a charge filed against him 
couM well be pardoned for saying, in the words of Davy 
Crockett's coon, "Don't shoot, Mr. Crockett; I'll come 

Now all this bulks large to a personnel director. The cards 
are stacked against him and those dealt him he must play 
with caution and finesse. The reason is that it is his job to 
keep management advised of company practices that may be 
violations as enunciated by the board. The company's law- 
yers may be counted on to lay down the law on the over-all 
aspects of possible violations, but it is the personnel director 
who most often is the only one who knows or should know 
about the shifty things some employees do to provoke viola- 
tions and the things that foremen and executives do that can 
be construed as violations. 

All the tricks of scheming employees should be known. 
Not all are dumb moves by any means. Some are subtle. 
covert, and willful. Also, since it is hard to fire a man with- 
out his claiming a Labor Relations grievance, the personnel 
director has to make sure that management's power has been 
exercised fairly and for the exact, legitimate reasons stated. 

Acquaint yourself with the gist of Supreme Court deci- 
sions and the pronouncements of the board. Be sympathetic 
in respect to the laudable purposes sought to be achieved by 
the act, but work to get it amended so that the employer gets 
a fifty-fifty break. After all, employers are human beings 
too. They should have enforceable rights no less. 

Wage and Hour Law. — At this late date the Fair Labor 
Standards Act (1938) will not be of more than passing in- 
terest to you. I say this because I presuppose you have a 
wage scale that does not start at less than 40 cents an hour 
and a work week of forty hours. Take note that this law re- 
quires you to keep a list of employees with their home ad- 


dresses. You can use it as a valid reason to insist that 
employees keep you informed of changes of address so that 
you can show compliance. 

Social Security. — You will have a number of employees 
appealing to you for information about the provisions of 
unemployment insurance. This is provided by the Federal 
law, but payments are made only after state participation 
and administration. So you will have to familiarize your- 
self with the amounts of payment and method of distribu- 
tion set up in your state. 

Occasionally someone resigns and then makes application 
for unemployment insurance. I have to sit down hard on 
the attempted steal when I am asked to verify what is re- 
ported as a discharge or layoff. Whereupon I have a visit 
from the chiseling ex-employee who either deftly or brazenly 
asks me to perjure myself. I haven't done it yet. 

State Laws. — The state laws with which a personnel 
director has to be familiar are those dealing with labor and 
labor conditions. One law probably will be the state coun- 
terpart of the National Labor Relations Act. Thus if your 
company is not engaged in interstate or foreign commerce, 
you will still have state regulation of collective bargaining, 
mediation and arbitration, and unfair practices on the part 
of management and, in some states (mirabile dictu!) on 
the part of labor. 

Factory inspection is under the state Department of La- 
bor, so you will have to know your state laws and the de- 
partment's regulations. If you have a safety engineer, he 
should be on hand when there is an inspection. If not, join 
the inspector and your plant superintendent yourself. It 
may be that the head of the medical department will be 
called upon to go along too. 

Hours of employment of women and minors and the ages 
of minors employed, together with their working papers 
showing age and permission to work, are important matters 
covered by state laws. Be careful that you have documen- 
tary evidence of any relaxation of restrictions that the law 


permits in a legal emergency, such as working women be- 
yond the hour fixed by law. 

Working papers for minors are exceedingly important. 
All of us wish to protect our children. They are going to be 
the personnel directors and such of the next generation, and 
we wish for them all the health and education and protec- 
tion the law can give them. We want them to be better than 
we are. So watch to see that there is no cutting of corners. 

If a child is injured while in your employ and you have 
no working papers, then you are in for a penalty. That is 
bad enough, but I would feel worse the stigma on my de- 
partment if the victim happened to be one of my juveniles. 
In my own plant we cannot employ anyone under sixteen 
years of age. I have had youngsters falsify their papers to 
appear older in order to get a job, but by one check or an- 
other we have caught them (I hope all of them). There is 
nothing to do but thank them for the compliment implied 
in their eagerness to work for us, fire them, and send their 
papers back to the school board. 

Lawyers . : — The rise of the lawyer in the business world 
is easily understandable. As business moved out from under 
the direction of individuals and partnerships into the realm 
of the corporation and the investment banker, it needed legal 
advice to effect its mergers and meet its management prob- 
lems. The country came out of the 1893 depression to face 
business conditions upset by falling prices and increased 
marketing fields. The competition for business was com- 
plicated by political uncertainty. Railroads were one target 
of reform. The growing monopolies were another. The ad- 
ministrations of Theodore Roosevelt provided many battle- 
grounds. Certainly those the strenuous President dubbed 
"malefactors of great wealth" needed the best legal talent 
they could get. The corporation counsel was born before 
then, but at the turn of the century he came of age. 

Large corporations began to dominate much of our eco- 
nomic structure. Where the old personal-management con- 
trol had been superseded, there arose the need for guidance. 


The investment bankers not only sold stock in the new co- 
lossi which they had helped to assemble, but in many cases 
they took over the policy and control. The Federal govern- 
ment was fighting monopoly, and the rising power of or- 
ganized labor was plaguing the promoters, builders, and 
managers of the new industrial empire. No wonder shrewd 
lawyers were called in to help hold the line. 

The successes obtained so often by negotiators for organ- 
ized labor in their battles with negotiators for employers are 
not always due to the Tightness of their cause. Some of the 
successes are due to better preparation of the case and this 
can result in better presentation and argument. It may be 
because unionism is a religion and business is often a con- 
geries of games for management and its lawyers. The reli- 
gious zealot has just one fixation. The lawyer across the 
table from him usually has a number of different games to 
play. Union negotiating is only one of them. 

A labor union will pay an economist say $20,000 a year. 
He devotes all his time to buttressing the union position. 
Whenever a local goes into contract negotiations every bit of 
ammunition the economist can supply is on hand for use of 
the union men. How many business executives or their law- 
yers have such skilled coaching? So against union men who 
are on the job every day in the year are often pitted execu- 
tives and lawyers who cannot begin to study the situation 
until the union pot begins to boil in their own kitchen. 

Being personnel director, you will have to work with law- 
yers who handle many of your company's labor problems. 
Be sure of your facts because your legal department will de- 
pend upon them. If you and the lawyers have a difference 
of opinion, remember that you both have the same goal — the 
good of your company. Once a personnel problem becomes 
a matter of legal consideration, you are subordinate. Even 
so, you can play a helpful part in trying to achieve that ob- 
jectivity which makes for justice. 



If the human race reproduced itself by transverse fission, 
there would be no need for personnel directors. All human 
beings would be as alike and act as alike as bacteria. For- 
tunately for the personnel craft, a designing Providence de- 
cided that there should be the male and the female of the 
species. Whether you find these two in the Garden of Eden 
or elsewhere, you will find variety in offspring. Here let a 
full-time observer interject, "And how!" With variety 
comes the need for the personnel director. 

Just when personnel workers had established fairly satis- 
factory bench marks for man power and its successful utili- 
zation, along came woman power. That has meant figuring 
out a lot of new bench marks. Woe to the personnel director 
who believes that a woman on the job is only a "lesser man." 
She is not. She may well have an entirely different set of 
standards, different likes and dislikes, different loyalties. So 
in getting her to do her best work, to give her heartiest co- 
operation, some appeals will be quite different from those to 
a man. 

Pick your own figure for the number of women employed 
in industry. Twelve million, fifteen million, even seventeen 
million. Whatever the figure, it is astonishing in its relation 
to the total number of jobs. Women are holding one job in 
four or at least one job in five. Even where you have an all- 
man plant, you will still have women as office workers ; and 
in recent years there is seldom to be found an all-man plant. 

Women are here to stay in industry, commerce, and all 
the services. Frankly, I am very glad they are. I like them. 
I like to see them get ahead. I like to see them pioneer in 


WOMEN 305 

new fields. I help them all I can. It is hard to know where 
to begin in talking about women as workers. In as brief a 
survey as this it is also hard to know exactly what to say. 

A Woman Gets a Job. — The greatest career for a woman 
is a happy marriage. The occupation with the most women 
workers enrolled is that of housewife. Would there were 
more of them! Here I started to write, "Unfortunately, 
there are millions of women who must earn a living" ; but 
it came to me that in many, many instances it is not "unfor- 
tunate" that this is so. Where there is prospect of marriage 
after a few years, work in a store or office or factory offers 
splendid training in character building, in dispatch, in ap- 
preciation of some of the problems the spouse must meet, in 
the general give-and-take of living inside the home and out. 

If a young woman brings from the business world to her 
new home training in promptness, orderliness, fidelity to the 
job to be done, an understanding of the value of equipment, 
and (usually only through observation) some skill in admin- 
istration, her years on a pay roll have been valuable indeed. 
When I lose one such, although I am glad for her, I grieve. 

I don't believe that picking women for jobs is any harder 
than picking men for jobs. The harder work comes after- 
ward. Already your medical department has passed on job 
classifications suitable for women. On this score you have 
no more concern than you have in the case of a man ; it is 
the medical department that admits the individual to the 
classification. I agree with you that the emotional instabil- 
ity level is reached sooner in women than in men, but that 
is a constant which does not make hiring any more difficult. 

When she makes her first visits to employment offices, a 
young woman just out of high school is about as pathetic as 
a young man just out of high school. She may be a little 
more earnest; he is usually more ambitious. Where the ap- 
plication is for office work, she often has one or two advan- 
tages over the average young man. She may be able to type 
and do beginner's shorthand. 

Aptitude tests for women should never be neglected. I 


think it is more important to have, a tested picture of a 
woman than of a man. If you do not grade a man to a gnat's 
heel, both the new employee and the company may be ex- 
pected to get along fairly well together. But in the case of 
a young woman, I think every effort should be made to place 
her in her proper physical and mental environment because 
she takes things harder : heat, cold, drafts, gossip, drab walls, 
rules, ganging up, reproof — the boss's frown. 

In the cases of career women who come with verifiable 
records in sales, bookkeeping or other office practice or in 
factory operation, there is no need to go through a long 
testing process. The records speak. But when you are con- 
fronted with an inexperienced young woman, thorough test- 
ing is indicated. 

When you hire a young man, you may be hiring a future 
plant superintendent, general manager, sales manager, or 
company treasurer. If he is good, you are trying to hire him 
for life. When you hire a young woman, you are probably 
hiring her for only a few years, especially if she is capable 
and definitely not a career-woman type. So she is given a 
job that helps keep the wheels turning. No more is expected 
of her. 

Even if you are reconciled to the fact that she will not be 
with you forever, you wish to keep her as long as you can. 
So you have to be more careful than you are with a man in 
placing her. A man will grit his teeth and say, "This is a 
lousy job, but it is one I must do and do well in order to move 
on up." The ordinary young woman is not moving up. So 
you have to be careful in fitting her to a job that will hold 
her interest. That is where tests (but still remember they 
are not infallible) help in placement. 

The more education a young woman has, the harder it 
is to place her — unless she is determined upon a career and 
you have the channel for her. Some organizations really 
have no jobs for college girls, except where a girl has topped 
off college with a business course and aims to be a top-flight 
secretary to a top-flight executive. There are many places 

WOMEN 307 

for college girls in retail business. There are places for them 
in the publishing field. 

You may find that a discerning plant foreman will write 
on his labor requisition, "Six girls with strong backs and 
weak minds." You know what he wants: sturdy girls who 
do not object to repetitive work; girls who have had about 
two years of high school and who quit of their own accord. 

Most women prefer to work for men. No need to tell you 
why. You know that men have the boss tradition. Women 
workers know it. By and large, men are better bosses than 
women. Even where they are not, women think they are. 
That is the main thing. 

Women on the Job. — Once you have the woman and the 
job together, you have ahead of you the training period, 
except for old-timers you take on. If you have a class of 
women, you will have better results than where one is trained 
alone. They seem to take confidence from each other. 
Where one is alone, she magnifies her mistakes and is dis- 
couraged. Don't push them. If the training course permits, 
don't keep them on any one thing to the point of fatigue. 
Switch to another operation and come back to the first later. 

Women do not have a man's objective approach. They 
work for the boss rather than for the company. So a per- 
sonnel director may have his work cut out in training an 
executive or foreman to deal with women with that under- 
standing. Lots of men do not know how to manage women 
in business. My guess is that these men also make mighty 
poor husbands. The boss sets the tempo for his department 
of women. If he is kind and understanding and fair, he gets 
good work. What is more, his women protect him and his 
department when a neurotic troublemaker happens to get 
into their midst. If he is an ignorant tyrant and bully, 
heaven help the women who are on the pay roll he signs! 
They are sullen and resentful, far more than men would be. 

Women respond a little more openly to words of. praise. 
The wise boss praises the quality of work, not the worker. 
Note the difference. 


Now and then a nice, quiet man who loves his wife and 
his home and who makes passes at no one finds that a woman 
in his department has or is getting a crush on him. If he gets 
scared enough, he may come and tell you about it. Maybe 
the quickest and easiest thing to do is to move her to an- 
other department. If the case is mild, she may work out of 
it where she is. Time and impersonal treatment wear a lot 
of them down. 

You may think I am letting you down here because I am 
not giving you all the answers. But this is no place for gen- 
eralizations and amateur psychology at long range. I really 
can't tell you what to do when an employee falls in love with 
her boss (if the move frightens him) . All I know is that you 
can't very well go to her and say, "Listen, Sister. Quit moon- 
ing around and get down to work." At the other end of the 
scale, you have not the time or the skill to go in for psycho- 

The bigger the organization, the more rules there must be 
to keep things running smoothly. Men are more logical 
about rules than women are. At least they accept them with 
more equanimity than women. Maybe it is because rules 
are made by men whose thinking is a masculine process. 

Health and Safety. — Women, being the weaker vessels, 
desire and deserve special consideration in terms of their 
health, their safety, and their temperaments. Few general 
rules can cover office workers and plant workers or store 

No industrial medical department is worthy the name that 
does not work hand in hand with the personnel department. 
This is particularly obvious where women are concerned. 
The job analysis has put the medico on notice as to the 
standing, lifting, or stooping to be done. Furthermore, by 
observation he should know the physical surroundings, the 
illumination, the heat or cold, the possible drafts, the work 
bench in relation to the height or leg length of the worker, 
the stenographer's chair, even the flow of work. This knowl- 
edge is needed to promote and preserve health and to pre- 

WOMEN 309 

vent, as far as possible, accidents and occupational dis- 

Preventive measures are less expensive than curative ac- 
tion. Women have to be away from their jobs more than 
men. Not to recognize this fact is to be unrealistic. Pre- 
ventive measures can cut down absenteeism. These meas- 
ures are of two kinds ; first and foremost, medical and, second, 
aids that save time in out-plant, necessary activities to keep 
the household running or the employee personable. When 
a plant is distant from a shopping zone, establishing a shop- 
ping service can be invaluable. Or arrangements can be 
made for local stores to take orders during the noon hour 
or at the close of shifts. And I can well believe that a com- 
pany would not lose money if it started, with a subsidy, a 
beauty parlor just outside the gate. 

If you are a masculine personnel director, please do not 
lose sight of the fact that women have to have shampoos and 
hair-dos and facials and manicures and other feminine min- 
istrations which are a mystery to the mere male. Whatever 
makes for personal satisfaction makes for morale. I cannot 
authorize such practices on company time, but sometimes I 
wish I could. The prescription might save me trouble deal- 
ing with a woman who old-fashioned folk would say was 
going to have a case of the fantods. 

What creates dissatisfaction is for the women in one de- 
partment to have midmorning and midafternoon rest peri- 
ods, while women in another department are chained to their 
desks or machines. I prefer to have all women get the same 
recess, but where this is impossible the personnel director 
should make a frank explanation of the reasons why it can- 
not be done. If he can find no good reasons, then he should 
request management to grant the rest period. I do not 
think it should be left to a department head to say in ef- 
fect, "I am not going to give a rest period because I don't 
want to." I think he should have to justify his decision to 
top management. 

As important to the personnel director as a wise medical 


adviser is a wise safety engineer. Women have hazards of 
hair and clothing which men do not have. An educational 
course is not enough. There has to be iteration and reitera- 
tion. There has to be constant vigilance. 

Now and then I read where there is a revolt among the 
women in a plant because of some edict as to costume that 
has been dictated by safety precautions. As presumably all 
the facts are not set down in the newspaper report, a rea- 
sonable judgment on the case is impossible. Yet on the face 
of it I incline to the opinion that there has not been good 
personnel work paving the way for the order. If I were in a 
plant with a lot of women and the safety engineer recom- 
mended a change of costume, I think I should say to myself. 
"Now there are a lot of janes in that buffing department 
who will resent any regimentation and two or three will be 
contrary. So the thing to do is to make them think they are 
themselves picking out their new safety attire." 

I would hand-pick a committee and turn on the propa- 
ganda in the proportion of one ounce of safety to two ounces 
of better appearance. Then I would have several costumes 
offered. My private selection would be just a little perkier 
and smarter, with a nice, satisfying color and with the piping 
and maybe the pockets in a gay, contrasting color. You get 
the idea. A little more trouble but well worth it. 

Women can do almost anything a man can do that does 
not require his strength. Even some of the things that have 
required strength, as our man-power shortage has taught us, 
can be so divided or retooled or reskilled that women can do 
the operation. What limits them in jobs not requiring 
strength (as it limits some minorities) is customer accept- 
ance. A woman might not make the same quota of sales as 
a man when calling on small retail dealers. Then you should 
not employ a woman, unless your company is willing to pay 
the price for being a pioneer. 

Hours of the employment of women are now covered by 
law. Acquaint yourself with the law that governs your type 
of business. 

WOMEN 311 

Keeping Women Happy. — With a woman it's the little 
things that count. Little to a great big he-man, but not little 
to those of the feminine gender. 

Because a woman wilts under physical discomfort more 
quickly than a man, good ventilation is even more important 
to her than it is to him. Drafts are more devastating to her 
than to him. Noise is more irritating to her than to him. At- 
tention of those in authority brings quicker response from her 
than from him. The attention I am now speaking of is that 
which the woman recognizes is directed toward making her 
working surroundings better. 

Much of a woman's work is routine and is accepted as 
such. She cannot have a pride in it as such, but she can be 
encouraged by her department head's recognition and take 
pride in herself as an appreciated cog in the machine. 

When it comes time to repaint a department where the 
workers are women, give thought to a change of color. Faint 
companies can give you a variety of choices. You will find 
that color engineers do not always agree, but I doubt that 
you can go far wrong in taking the advice of any of them, 
particularly when you have an illuminating engineer check 
on the light required for the work in hand. All this goes too 
for departments where the workers are men, but it is par- 
ticularly true where they are women. 

Color must not be distracting in office or factory, but more 
leeway is advisable in women's lounges and locker rooms. 
You can go in for night-club decor and probably get away 
with it. It is all in how your "clientele" stacks up. You 
might have an office force so refined that only pastel shades 
would make them happy. 

And get a good current of air into the lockers. In these 
days there is no excuse for having a locker room with smells 
reminiscent of an athletic club's gymnasium back in the 
1880's. Give the women some comfortable furniture in their 
lounge. I am against wicker furniture, delightful though it 
looks and is. I ordered it once, and after two or three years 
of hard usage the canes began to crack and pop loose. I had 


a never-ending parade of angry females to my office de- 
manding that the company pay for their snagged silk or 
nylon hose. Never again. 

Watch that you don't ask anyone of your women's lounges 
to carry too heavy a load. Their value to your company is in 
the rest and relaxation they afford women employees. If 
any one of them is the retreat of too many, then its pur- 
pose has been defeated. And a good matron is a jewel be- 
yond price. 

The one time you should be tough in resisting the soft 
heart of management is when a valued employee has died 
and a berth must be made for his widow. Management 
sends you word to make her a matron. Xow I believe, for 
the good of the working force, a matron should be chosen 
with greater care than you exercise in selecting a secretary 
for the sales manager. A good matron can be guide, coun- 
selor, and friend as well as an efficient engineer of the locker 
room, washroom, and lounge. As for the relict of the valued 
but deceased employee, that is all she is in ninety-nine out 
of one hundred times — a relict. 

I am in favor of vending machines for candies, chewing 
gum, and you know what in lounges. 

If you have a large force of women, you may decide you 
need a woman counselor, maybe more than one. This is not 
a job for a bright young college girl who took courses in 
psychology and personnel administration. It is for a woman 
who has lived long enough and wisely enough to have good 
powers of discrimination and sympathy, who can point out 
the roads that lie ahead, and wisely appear to leave the 
choice to the troubled employee. 

What are you going to do when gossip disrupts a depart- 
ment or when the seven women in the department who are 
members of the Duck River and Kindred Associations of 
Baptists gang up on the one woman who is a Seventh Day 
Baptist (German, 1728)? Well, you've got your work cut 
out for you, especially if the department head is not person- 
nel minded. I don't know what you are going to do. I 

WOMEN 313 

would have to be on the spot before I would decide what I 
thought best — and then I might be wrong. I have been. 

Transfer some and watch the rest is standard practice. 
Sometimes you can transfer a smart employee into the storm 
center and rely on her to pull the group together. 

Here is something you may step into until you learn by 
experience. You will put a woman employee into a group 
where she does not fit because of age, social background, or 
cultural interests. Don't. Try to have birds of a feather 
flock together. That is hard to do sometimes and still give 
opportunity to members of an emergent minority. 

I don't see how you can keep intelligent young women 
truly contented when you put them into one of those stream- 
lined stenographic or typist pools. Years ago some efficiency 
expert discovered that some stenographers had a little time 
on their hands to sweep up their hair-do or steal a few puffs 
of a cigarette. So he invented the pool and cut the cost of 
getting out letters from 23 to 22 cents each. (This is specu- 
lative, as a reconstruction of a long-ago period.) And he 
certainly invented a dull grind. 

Efficient? I suppose so. Maybe. But not in human 
values. The stenographic pool has always reminded me of 
the early days of the factory system. The first one I ran 
across was in a wholesale house in St. Louis years ago. The 
girls called it the "boiler room." They stayed only until 
they could line up good jobs elsewhere. I suppose pools are 
even more efficient today, but to me they are depressing. 
Usually run by an ex-school teacher who tells Miss Smith 
to go to Mr. Brown for dictation and Miss Jones to go to 
Mr. Green. She also monitors the rest room. 

I maintain that a bright young woman cannot do her best 
work or maintain her interest if she is divorced from the 
striving for a goal in common with others on an associational 
basis. So I don't like impersonal pools. 

Men like to have a feeling of "belonging." Women want 
to have that feeling too, only more so. When it comes to 
children, there is no worse psychic shock than feeling they 


"don't belong." It makes for a terrific sense of insecurity. 
Well, grownups have that feeling too. Executives who have 
personnel training or intuition know how valuable it is to 
make their workers feel they belong. 

Here's a case: The young woman was liked by her asso- 
ciates but was something of a problem to her supervisor. 
Her attitude was such that the personnel director diagnosed 
the symptoms as self-severance in the near future. Finally, 
she went to her boss and said, "I'm planning to leave." He 
looked at her coldly and said, "Just tell me when you are 
quitting." His error. His mistake was that he did not con- 
sider the kick in the pants he was giving the morale of his 

In the first place, no matter how irked he was, he should 
have been pleasant. That is good policy. But the big point 
is this: The young woman reported his cold "Just tell me 
when you are quitting" to her friends. Their reaction was, 
"Well, he doesn't think it matters whether any of us work 
here or not." They did not ask the reason. As you or I 
would expect, they only looked at the matter emotionally. 
There welled up a resentful sense of insecurity. They didn't 

Career Women. — All I ask for career women is a fair 
field and no favor — for or against. The difficulty these 
women have is in acceptance. Too often there is not a fair 
field. In many cases they have advanced from secretarial 
to administrative positions without being allowed to slough 
off all their secretarial shackles. "She formerly typed letters 
from dictation; well, let her type her own letters now." 

Occasionally — to understate it — a career woman climbs 
the ladder a little way, does a good job, and yet is deliberately 
by-passed when she can properly expect further promotion. 
One time an executive told me that there were so many 
bright young men in his department capable of advancement 
that there was a bottle-neck. He told me in effect, "I have 
a chance to fix that. I'll put in a lot of young women during 
this labor shortage, and then my good men will keep mov- 

WOMEN 315 

ing." I asked him if he was not creating a bottle-neck for 
women. I don't think that had occurred to him. 

It is the duty of an honest personnel director to protect 
his career women, to insist that they be permitted to go as 
far as they can as fast as they can. They should have the 
same office equipment, the same office staff, the same oppor- 
tunity for advancement, and the same authority and respect 
that would be accorded a man holding the position. 




Morale in the world of production for profit is the sum 
total of the attitudes of a designated group of workers en- 
gaged in a pursuit in which, in some degree, success is meas- 
ured l}y the amount of cooperation knowingly and willingly 

There can be good morale or poor morale. Given a psy- 
chological meter, a reading for the entire plant may be dif- 
ferent from that of any cohesive component. By a campaign 
addressed to the firemen working on a railroad, a saving of 
thousands of tons of coal a year may be effected by careful 
firing. At the same time, the conductors on the same rail- 
road may be disgruntled and apathetic because of a wage 
dispute that has been settled adversely and to their minds 

The chief concern of a personnel director is to increase 
morale because it is teamwork, and teamwork speeds pro- 
duction, lowers costs. Morale is the organization's engine 
oil. Good engine oil makes for smooth-running parts. Poor 
engine oil gums up the works. No engine oil — the engine 
ceases to run. 

Good morale is basically the product of a spiritual process. 
Like family affection it comes from intimate knowledge, 
thoughtf ulness, sharing, courtesies, and loyalties. An organ- 
ization that has good morale wears a garment of light. 

A personnel director fosters and maintains good morale 
only by the exercise of constant vigilance. Every executive, 
boss and straw boss, is a direct-contact personnel director. 
If he shirks his personnel responsibilities, if his vigilance re- 
laxes, morale suffers. Baldly stated, efficiency drops and 



discontent mounts. So the personnel director with the title 
has the big responsibility of watching morale as it is affected 
by the attitudes of the department and division heads, the 
supervisors and foremen. This responsibility leads directly 
to reporting to top management lapses which are significant. 
Needless to say, this can be a ticklish business. 

Commerce and industry have grown through the years un- 
der the fierce drives of emulation and competition, of science 
and invention, in a world with a laissez-faire economy. Men 
have come to positions of authority patterned by these 
drives. They have lived in a world of things where labor 
has been a commodity. Old patterns, old molds of thought 
and action are not broken easily or quickly. Slavery was 
abolished by Abraham Lincoln's proclamation, but the 
plantation system has been a long time a-dying. We fought 
and won the greatest war in history to get recognition of the 
dignity and individuality of man. We shall not have won 
that war completely unless this recognition is granted to all 
ranks in our working world. Where we have this recogni- 
tion, we may expect to have good morale. 

The feudal world has analogies in the business world to- 
day. The captains of industry are like members of the 
powerful royalty and nobility of old. By Wall Street stand- 
ards we could today establish those of the blood royal : the 
dukes, the marquises, the earls, the viscounts, and the barons. 

A nobleman had more than one title. He was naturally 
known by his most exalted one, but any other gave additional 
prestige or power. The second Duke of Norfolk was also 
Earl of Nottingham. No doubt on ceremonial occasions his 
entrance was announced: "His Grace, the Duke of Norfolk 
and Earl of Nottingham." If I seem to belabor this point, it 
is for a purpose. 

As I have said, everyone exercising authority over others 
is in fact their personnel director. It is not being whimsical 
to suggest that it would be a fine thing could that title be 
used in introductions: "Mr. Jones, sales manager and per- 
sonnel director of the sales department"; "Mr. Smith, as- 


sistant foreman of the annealing room and personnel director 
of the night shift." Such an introduction or salutation in 
written form would keep Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones reminded 
that they are dealing not only with things but with human 
relationships. It would keep them reminded that they are 
dealing not only with sales or production but with morale. 

So much for the bosses and the subbosses. What of mo- 
rale as it affects the employee or is affected in his group by 
his attitude. Once again we get back to our old friends — 
status and security. Without them you do not have the max- 
imum good morale. Once again we can look on status 
as a word interchangeable with recognition. "A man's a 
man for a' that." Well, tell him so. And prove that you 
think it. 

Employees Want to Know. — Good morale is built by 
telling employees how they "belong." It is not enough to 
say, "This is the biggest packing plant in the State of Cere- 
sota and you are one of the cogs in the machinery." Too 
indefinite. Most employees are not imaginative enough to 
get any real sense of belonging just from that. You have to 
get down to their department, down to their own aisle on the 
floor, and make it a part of the pulsing, producing whole. 
When they see that their own "hot licks" keep the rhythm 
unbroken, then they are keen for teamwork. 

Print stories frequently in the plant newspaper about 
where the raw materials come from, to what far points the 
finished products go, how they help to build a better world, 
what people think of them, why they prefer them to others. 
The possibilities of stories are endless. You will find em- 
ployees talking at home and out in town about what "we" 
do. They are identifying themselves with something they 
are proud of. They are saying in effect, "We belong." 

Preach to your bosses that they must give credit. When a 
tough order has to be filled, say so. Wind up with, "I know 
we can do it." And when it has been filled, find time to say, 
"We did it!" That's not an exclamation of surprise. That's 


a confession of admiration. Wise, deserved, specific praise 
is a splendid tonic or morale. A pat on the back is worth 
two kicks in the pants. 

But please remember this: A pat on the back is no sub- 
stitute for a fair wage. It is something additional. 

Playing on the Team. — A personnel director who cannot 
arouse some of the awareness that spells teamwork in Amer- 
ican competitive sport has something still to learn. I don't 
refer to the blurred awareness of the hurly-burly of flask- 
totin', tipsy, coonskin-coated alumni in the grandstands. I 
refer to the spirit on the playing field that makes a youth 
willing to die for dear old Rutgers. Of course, no depart- 
ment can work at such top speed eight hours a day, five days 
a week. But it can have the spirit that puts on the spurt. 

It is better to spend thought on employees than to spend 
money. Some money, yes; but more thought — having in 
mind that thought must result in action. In some popular 
light opera there is a rousing male chorus that tells the audi- 
ence, "We're all pals together." The theater is electric with 
the enthusiasm. That's morale. 

Nobody expects the president of the company to take off 
his coat and help put the order through the cutting room. 
Nobody expects the secretary of the company to stop in at 
Dutchman's and have a beer with the die setters. What em- 
ployees want to know is that the men in remote control are 
understanding and interested. As the line comes down to 
lower levels of direction, they want more and more evidence 
of this, right down to the manager and captain of their own 
team. He is their contact with management. To them he is 
management. He makes them tick. If morale is good, they 
tick in unison — teamwork. 

A lot of foremen are natural leaders, captains. A great 
many more have to be taught whatever can be taught. Not 
everybody can be taught, but the innate powers in most men 
can be developed. To do that — to tap the capabilities of 
foremen to get what qualities of leadership are there — is a 


big job for a personnel director. With management's back- 
ing it can be done. When successful, one of the biggest 
products is teamwork — good morale. 

Group Rewards and Bonuses. — One way to spur effort 
through morale is by an offer of a group reward or bonus 
based upon combined output. Good morale is then self- 
generating. The group supervises itself, you might say. 

Where there is some incentive within the department, the 
employees watch to prevent waste of supplies or time. They 
are alert to slacking. They see that everyone gives his best. 
They apply the social pressures of their class to bring the 
recalcitrants into line. 

There are two things to take into account when handling 
a group reward or bonus : the period of time must not be too 
long and the watermelon to be cut must be worth the effort 
to win it. 

The opponents of rewards and bonuses contend that they 
bribe workers to do what they are paid to do anyhow. One 
can play safe with this comment, "It all depends." All I 
know is that it works in some plants and does not work in 
others. Success or failure may depend on direction or the 
kind of work or the intelligence of the employees. 

The Spirit of Helpfulness. — Nobody likes to feel depend- 
ent. On the other hand, everybody but the ultrarugged 
individualist likes to know that there is a big brother at hand 
who will help out in time of need. ' In a business organiza- 
tion that feeling of comfort, of confidence, is engendered 
when there is a sense of security. It is something more than 
believing that the work will continue at a fair wage. The 
feeling is acquired through appreciation of outward evi- 
dences of thoughtfulness./ 

These outward evidences vary from plant to plant and 
from store to store. In one town it may be by helpfulness 
in arranging for proper housing or transportation. In one 
store it may be in hours and facilities for store-shopping at 
a discount. Again, it may be in having a day when the fac- 
tory is "at home" to the families of its employees. [Mother 


and the children come to see where Daddy works. These 
things make for good morale. 

Among the larger aspects of helpfulness are the credit 
union and the company fund through which employees are 
helped to meet emergencies, a wise medical service, sick 
benefits, a pension system and group insurance. To have all 
of them sounds Utopian, but if they are not here now in your 
company they are on their way. You can do a mighty lot 
of spade work to help get ready. Whatever you have now 
builds good morale. 

How will employers finance these larger aspects of help- 
fulness? I don't know. But I feel certain that if the' em- 
ployer will not then in time the state will step in and do it. 
The employer who can do it now, ungoaded, should get the 
cream of the crop of workers, together with the best morale. 
That cream and that morale may make it possible for him 
to beat the competition of the employers who hope to have 
lower sales prices by skimping on employee benefits. 

Perhaps in the new world coming it will be fairer if the 
state pipes the tune to which all employers must dance. I 
hate to think that it is necessary to legislate into employers 
a proper regard for the opinions and welfare of their em- 

Many companies built morale, present and future, during 
the war by the group letters and gifts that went to employees 
in the armed services. Here follows a letter which acknowl- 
edged a Christmas gift. It also illustrates another morale 

It was nice to know that the plant still remembered me by 
sending such a thoughtfully planned box of Christmas pres- 
ents. . . . My job with you before the Army grabbed me is 
one of my fondest memories as I sit here in my foxhole. The 
experience I remember best calls to my mind a young straw 
boss whom we nicknamed Gabriel because he used to get 
around so early. 

Then came the morning when Gabriel showed up rather 
late, after an unusual night sipping "Devil's brew." I don't 


imagine he quite knew what street he was on, much less 
whether he was in the right city. However, the young woman 
who ran the office was quick to the rescue. Thrusting money 
into my hand she gave me the duty of convoying Gabriel 
home, a truly memorable journey. 

All I got out of the trip was abuse from my companion and 
a hot tip on the third race at Bowie. Laughing Gas was the 
name, I think. Not being the gambler type (and the Army 
has since wrecked that ideal) , I only grinned at his mouth- 
ings. Needless to say the damned animal not only won by 
six lengths but paid a juicy 16 to 1. 

The sermon for you has nothing to do with Laughing Gas 
in the third race at Bowie. The sermon is in the attitude of 
the supervisor — and a woman at that. She was protecting 
her own. Her good worker was in trouble and she had him 
taken care of. 

Why Morale Slumps. — Individual morale slumps for any 
reason that discourages the employee. It may be a nagging 
boss, inability to keep up with the work-gang, a job too 
tough for his capacity, too much liquor, too much mother- 
in-law, too much or too little anything, even fallen arches. 
Group morale slumps from some sense of work injustice. It 
may be fostered by the agitator or the radical, but in such a 
case there must be some real or fancied discontent which 
can be exploited. 

The foreman can spot an employee who has slumped in 
interest and in output. Sometimes he can correct matters 
with a few words. If .he cannot, sometimes the personnel 
department can help him with a remedy. It has to be a real 
conflict before the employee deserves personnel attention. 
The personnel director or a member of his staff cannot be 
expected to provide catharsis for all the grouches, the sulks, 
the collywobbles, and the heebie jeebies of employees. It is 
when there is a slump in group morale that the personnel 
director should be sure to gumshoe around for clues. 

If I were an employee with a dinner pail that had in it 
only half a loaf of bread and an onion, there are a lot of 


things that would make me mount a soapbox in the factory 
yard. First of all would be the news that the board of di- 
rectors has just voted a pension of $40,000 a year to the re- 
tiring president. If he had been drawing a salary of such 
proportion year after year that the board now granted this 
big pension, then he should have been able to provide for 
his own future. 

If the management was spending three or four hundred 
thousand dollars a year on frilly, lip-service employee pa- 
ternalism, I should cheer to the echo the employee who 
stood up and said, "I wish they would cut out all this fancy 
stuff and put that money into our wages." 

Unless a personnel director is willing to look for a new 
job, he will not advance himself or his cause by protesting 
to management against giving the retiring president a pen- 
sion of $40,000 a year. But in time he can do something 
to take the frills out of the welfare work — the Lady Bounti- 
ful approach in the garden hat with the footman carrying a 
basket of oranges and toffee. 

There is no need to cite in extenso instances of why em- 
ployees slump. They range all the way from favoritism 
displayed by foremen to unwise company policy. 

The best cure for a group slump in morale not based on 
personality is honest publicity — it kills disgruntlement as 
sunlight kills bacteria. Unless workers are dull or deter- 
mined to be antagonistic, their viewpoint can be corrected. 
Of course, there is a catch in this pronouncement. The or- 
ganization must have an honest story to tell. When it comes 
to a personality difficulty, the affair has to be handled by 
getting the offender into line. Until that is done there is no 
use talking to the employees. When it has been done satis- 
factorily, there is no need to talk to them. 

Foremen have to be trained to avoid the thoughtless word. 
Take the case of a group of women who were engaged in 
work where they took some of their satisfaction in knowing 
that it was advancing a patriotic effort, while they were be- 
ing paid a wage below what their intelligence and industry 


could command elsewhere. Working under crowded, discon- 
certing conditions, they let it be known to the woman at the 
head of the department that they would like to present their 
views for betterments through a committee. Back came 
word, "If any of you don't like it here, you can quit." And 
morale in the department took a nose dive. 

No need to comment. Criticism is due these dense and 
callous "superiors," but more criticism can be charged to the 
management which never gave them an understanding of 
personnel relationships. 

Human nature is very interesting to watch. It is so ever- 
lastingly the same. You can depend upon its sameness with 
almost as much certainty as you have when in nature you 
find crystals of any substance and know that their angles will 
always be the same. Employees have the same underlying 
reactions whether they are in a foundry, a textile mill, an 
advertising agency, a department store, or a social service 

Working Conditions. — Morale is torn down by bad work- 
ing conditions. Some a personnel director can correct. 
Others he can only point out to management, indicating how 
betterments can be obtained. In the latter case new capital 
investments may have to be made, as when improved types 
of machinery should be provided. New routing of a sub- 
assembly line may quiet the grumbling occasioned by tardy 
arrival of parts to the main line, especially where assembly 
is on a piecework basis. Such change is for a line executive 
to make. The personnel director can only call attention to 
the need when employee morale has been affected. 

An employee is influenced by the type of his associates. 
In hiring for a department the thoughtful personnel director 
has this in mind. As I have already said, birds of a feather 
supposedly like to flock together. Working conditions em- 
brace not only the physical ; they embrace also the social. It 
is a truism to say that the employee maintains interest to a 
higher degree when in a congenial group ; but nearly all per- 
sonnel work is based on truisms. And all these truisms are 


founded on the one stated negatively by Confucius and later 
by Rabbi Hillel, then stated positively for all time by Jesus — 
"Do unto others. . . ." 

The shrewd executive knows that he has two morale rights 
on his hands all the time. He is fighting both fatigue and 
monotony. The personnel director can help him. A clinical 
study of fatigue involves the doctor, the engineer, the time- 
study analyst. You may require such a study. But there 
can be rough-and-tumble approximations that require only 
observation and common sense. Morale sags with fatigue. 
I think it sags still more with monotony — especially where 
the intelligence level is above the median. 

The best you can do for fatigue is to space rest periods, 
watch ventilation, impart rhythm if possible, and be sure 
you are not asking employees to do more than is humanly 
possible. You must prevent a fatigue drain which carries 
over from day to day. You can stretch a rubber band, but 
if it does not snap back you can discard it. In the old days 
you could discard employees. We call ourselves enlightened 
today. We believe it is inhumane to drive employees to the 
point where efficiency demands that they be discarded. It 
is also expensive, if you want a grossly material reason : in 
their final days production of workers sapped by fatigue is 
well below average. 

Monotony, a dangerous drag on morale, is something you 
can reduce by thoughtful placement. Some workers can 
breeze through a job, whether mental or manual, without a 
thought that repetition is tiring. Others get bored stiff. 
Interest dies. Psychological testing at the threshold may 
help you guard against misplacement, because monotony is 
in the mind. 

A shift to another kind of work is the best antidote for 
monotony, but I must concede that a manufacturing plant 
cannot be a merry-go-round of employees where one day you 
ride a giraffe and the next day a lion and the third day coast 
around in a sleigh. So there cannot be much change. The 
workers must endure monotony, if their mentality revolts 


and no change of position is possible. Their only hope is to 
look forward to pleasant, after-work release of their greater 

Compensation for Dullness.— Music can sometimes be 
used to narcotize dullness while on the job. Whatever group 
activity can be introduced outside work hours is a weapon in 
the fight against monotony, not because it can attack the 
trouble at the source, but because it provides extracurricular 
interest, stimulation, release. The extroverts look out for 
themselves better than the introverts, but even they must 
have outlets, such as dancing and card playing during the 
noon hour if there is time. Any sort of club for the evening, 
just so it is a group project — and fun. 

Anything that makes for solidarity, for oneness, makes 
for good morale. The company magazine or plant newspa- 
per is an excellent place to exploit your program of activ- 
ities which offer the change of pace, the antidote for mo- 

People live by their feelings more than by their intellects. 
Morale is more emotion than logic. A good personnel di- 
rector with a good editor of his department's periodical to 
follow his lead can build morale through this medium where 
there is a foundation of organizational sincerity and honesty. 
There is nothing meretricious in placing emotional appeal 
ahead of logical. 


Dig a bone or two out of some long-past geological stratum, 
and a paleontologist will reconstruct the creature's entire 
skeleton with a convincing show of authenticity. There is a 
counterpart in the business world of today. With training 
and perhaps a little intuition, a personnel man, working in 
his own medium, should be able to reconstruct a business 
organization's recent work history if given only the pay-roll 
figures and statistics of absenteeism and tardiness. These 
figures and statistical devils give you a fever chart of pro- 
duction. A personnel director should be as alert as any bed- 


side physician to diagnose the condition and to prescribe in- 

The over-all figures have a story to tell in total losses in 
man-hours. Included are those losses that cannot be changed 
by management's foresight, the excused absences, the un- 
avoidable latenesses. The really disturbing figures are those 
setting forth the hour-losses that might have been avoided 
— time lost by employees who had no legitimate excuse to be 
absent or late. 

There are certain excuses that are definitely valid : a death 
in the family, for absence; a breakdown of a public trans- 
portation system, for tardiness. Yet between them and the 
absolutely deadwood cases are shadowland cases which can 
give wrong values to your statistics. A real illness is indeed 
a valid reason for absence, but say the illness is a severe cold 
occasioned by bad working conditions. Then it should not 
be recorded in the column headed : "Nonoccupational illness 
due to act of God or genuine cussedness of employee." The 
illness should be recorded: "Avoidable illness due to negli- 
gence of management." That may mean in large part negli- 
gence of the personnel director or his delegated representa- 
tive, the health officer of the medical department. It is 
negligence that means lowered vitality and lowered morale. 

Reasons and Alleged Reasons for Absence. — Man is the 
only animal with imagination. A large part of it he uses in 
thinking up excuses for being absent from work. Even with 
a good excuse a worker will sometimes invent one which ap- 
pears more interesting to him. Sometimes, too, a good ex- 
cuse is embroidered almost out of recognition. Maybe it's 
the artist rebelling against drab conditions; maybe it's the 
inventor devising an escape mechanism from a too material- 
istic cosmos. Anyway, few are the workers who look you 
in the eye and say, "I stayed home yesterday because I had 
a hang-over. So what?" 

It is not practical to have an absentee form that screens 
too closely. There are columns, of course, for illness, death 
or illness in the immediate family, injuries inside and out- 


side the plant, jury duty and miscellaneous special-permis- 
sion excuses. Any of these is valid ; any can be alleged. If 
I seem a little sour in writing about absenteeism, it is not 
because of the valid reasons but because of the host of sly 
males and females who are masking their invalid absences 
with alleged valid reasons. Tell a salaried worker, if he stays 
away from work when he could be at his desk, that he is 
stealing from his employer and he will be surprised, shocked, 
indignant, and insulted. 

The evil is not alone in the gap left by the absentee but 
also in the conflicts where another employee tries to take up 
the slack and keep things going for both. Ordinarily, the 
second worker cannot turn out more than his usual quota. 
If he does much more, and easily, in covering the two posi- 
tions, then he is not working ordinarily at his full capacity 
and something is wrong with planning, scheduling, or super- 
vising. The absent-without-cause worker is imposing not 
only on the company but also on the fellow worker who 
shoulders some of his load. 

"The child is father to the man." No one knows that bet- 
ter than a personnel director. It is interesting to match 
school behavior patterns of the young with behavior pat- 
terns of employees. You can match the truancy of ado- 
lescents with the absenteeism of employees, finding causes 
substantially the same. Dislike for the teacher ; dislike for 
the foreman. Dislike for school because the pupil makes no 
headway; dislike for the job because the employee senses he 
is a misfit. Failure to get proper encouragement in the home ; 
family troubles from which the worker seeks escape outside 
his work. Bad associations ; that goes for the adult too. Re- 
bellion against enforced school attendance by those who are 
not capable of learning; well, you might match that with 
rebellion against work in general, a lack of a sense of respon- 
sibility through lack of a worth-while goal. 

The Worker Is Late. — As is the case with absenteeism, 
lateness in the shop or plant is more serious than lateness in 
the office. The reasons for lateness are not as many as those 


for absence. Certainly not the valid reasons. The invalid 
reasons can be grouped for the most part under one heading 
— inertia. The physicists might equally as well have had 
the chronic latecomer in mind when they defined inertia as 
"that property of matter by which it tends to remain in an 
existing state of rest." That describes the employee who 
hates to get up in the morning and then hates to get going. 

Of course there are the mental hazards which slow down 
the chronic tardy one. Disliking the boss, disliking the 
work, from these patent, exacerbating dislikes all the way 
down to the dislike to conform by arriving at work on time. 
The worker who is late with what you may call "irregular 
regularity" is exhibiting a symptom of inner conflict. In 
some way his life is disorganized. 

Records Precede Remedies. — Remedies for absenteeism 
and lateness are divided under two headings : treating under- 
lying causes which affect more than any one worker and 
dealing with the individual. The former is a matter of mo- 
rale building through better planning, supervision, and dis- 
semination of information regarding company policies and 
services. The latter is usually a matter of discipline. The 
goal is 100 per cent attendance. You never reach it, but it 
is astonishing how much slack can be taken up after intelli- 
gent study of the problem has indicated what to do. 

Records are of no avail unless they result in action. Just 
to have a clerk turn out sheet after sheet of absentee and 
tardiness forms is a waste of time and money unless you do 
something about them. Do not base judgments oh figures 
obtained over too short a period of time. On the other hand, 
I do not believe one season should lap into another. The 
fierce retail selling from Thanksgiving to Christmas is a dif- 
ferent period from the weeks from New Year's to Lincoln's 
Birthday. The loyalty, fatigue, and urgency factors are not 
the same. If you tell me they are in your retail business, I 
shall be surprised. I think a period in one year should be 
studied in relation to the same period in the previous year, 
weighting of course for whatever ponderables obtain. 


In planning a morale campaign against absenteeism and 
tardiness, take counsel of everyone who can throw light on 
the issue. Collect statistics. Discuss them with executives, 
foremen, union officials, employees. Be the inquiring re- 
porter. The skillful interview is the key that unlocks more 
knowledge than any other key. 

Treating Underlying Causes. — Many things can affect 
morale as underlying causes conducive to absenteeism and 
lateness. They include problems that also concern social 
workers in a larger field. In dealing with them the person- 
nel director may be balked by public or private apathy. 
They are principally housing, schools, and transportation. 
Good workers are restless when things do not go well with 
their families and when they must spend too much time get- 
ting to and from work, especially if the trip is uncomfortable 
and tiring. Women workers, in addition, resent the curbs 
on shopping and personal services which their hours of work 
impose. So the personnel department must charge itself 
with whatever can be done to improve these conditions. 
Their bearing on morale is all too evident. 

Within the confines of the organization are such general 
causes of sagging morale as favoritism of foremen, bad super- 
vision, fatigue, work stoppages following material shortages, 
lack of interest. Sometimes the treatment is in an approach 
through a small group. In these instances publicity pays, 
where physical conditions are involved. Tell the employees 
what you plan to do, then do it. Recognition and acknowl- 
edgment of these conditions are inevitable if the personnel 
director is to get a good response. 

Work stoppages are for management to correct. Absentee 
material results too often in absentee employees. The em- 
ployee thinks, "If management is not interested enough to 
have material on hand so I can work, what's wrong with 
my laying off? It's no worse than a lost day when the mate- 
rial lays off." You have hard work answering that if man- 
agement is proved negligent or careless. 

Poor morale that you can trace to the foreman should 


mean a course of sprouts for that worthy. If he can't take it, 
it should mean a new foreman. Here you have to contend 
with favoritism, poor training in leadership, and inability to 
train workers. The inept foreman is management's greatest 
psychological and sociological problem. Employees have 
confessed that they cannot drive themselves to go to work 
some days because of hatred of the foreman. Undoubtedly 
many others rationalize their feelings. The foreman is the 
cornerstone of plant, store, and office morale. 

I am on record as being against whoopla contests. Yet I 
must admit that competition between departments or groups 
in a department can help reduce absenteeism and tardiness. 
(I say the same for safety campaigns.) The appeal, of 
course, is to group loyalty. The other fellows are seeking 
to have a clean slate, and you cannot let them down. That 
is the idea. It is not a bad one. Posting the names in the 
department and showing monthly or weekly standing of 
employees is legitimate publicity for the department. Pub- 
lishing percentage scores in the plant newspaper keeps in- 
terest alive. Sometimes daily postings are in order. 

Because organizational setups differ materially, it follows 
that no hard-and-fast rules will cover them all or any ap- 
preciable part of them. Campaigns to reduce absenteeism 
and tardiness must be based on the specific conditions. Also, 
the personnel director must be an opportunist, changing his 
campaign to catch each favoring wind. 

There are figures giving percentages of absenteeism, but 
they vary. Any figure for a geographical area need not be 
near what it should be for your own organization. Your 
own conditions may legitimately move you well above or 
below a statistical average. Figures in your own category 
are worth studying, providing there is no pressure of unusual 
production demands and the employees live within a con- 
venient radius. Figure out your own percentage and then 
be dissatisfied with it. 

The best morale builder is the employee's sincere belief 
that those above him are interested in seeing that he gets a 


square deal, giving him opportunity for advancement as 
measured by his demonstrated ability. He must feel secure 
through good personal adjustment in his present surround- 
ings and have confidence in possible future betterment. 


To me, discipline is a matter for individual treatment. I 
can conceive that three employees caught in the same pec- 
cadillo should be dealt with as three individual offenders 
and not as three conspirators. I also stand for the dignity 
of the employee even when he is in disgrace. Lock the gate 
if you must or remove the timecard, thus compelling the 
tardy employee to pass the scrutiny of someone who notes 
his reason for his lateness and marks the time when he came. 
But don't put a yellow jacket on him to mark him for the 
rest of the day, or on the employee the day he returned after 
an unexcused absence. Any such practice is as senseless, if 
not as inhuman, as the dunce's cap a child was forced to wear 
years ago in the classroom for a poor recitation. If you can't 
establish prompt attendance except by trying hanky-panky, 
don't be a personnel director. Get yourself a job as a guard 
in an obsolete prison. 

Lack of regard for discipline is due to lack of respect. The 
employee does not respect his own interests or those of his 
employer. Investigate him and you will find that usually he 
earns a lower wage than the steady worker, does not advance, 
is irresponsible in his family and financial arrangements, and 
has not the same intelligent control of his appetites. It is 
evident that with such men and women the treatment is in 
the realm of social psychology. Just how much time, effort, 
and money should be spent in snatching a brand from the 
burning is a matter for management to decide. 

Sometimes the shop steward, walking delegate, or other 
union representative can help. However, an appeal to an 
outsider is tacit acknowledgment that you cannot handle the 
situation yourself. Think that over. 

Do not confuse this appeal to an outsider with leaving dis- 


ciplinary action in the hands of an employees' committee 
which has been set up to take care of infractions of rules. 

The fewer rules you have, the better for you. Every rule 
should have the "reason why" so succinct and explicit that 
no one can miss it. It must be reasonable, and that reason- 
ableness must be expressed so that it is immediately under- 
stood by the workers it affects. Discipline has to do with 
more than rules and penalties that have to do with tardiness 
and unexcused absence, although the majority of infractions 
come under these headings. 

Discipline must be firm, but always educational, especially 
where safety rules have been violated. Here it is well to put 
consideration and judgment in the hands of a joint commit- 
tee of employees. The members make it plain that the em- 
ployees themselves recognize and resent a practice that might 
mean injury or death to them. It makes more obvious the 
need for group protection. 

Should discipline be left to the foreman rather than be 
vested in higher authority? It certainly should be left to a 
good foreman. He is the immediate boss ; his is the immedi- 
ate authority. I think it weakens the foreman's position to 
take discipline away from him. It is like the mother's threat, 
"I'm going to tell your father when he comes home tonight." 
That's bad. Smack the hand as it comes out of the jam pot, 
and not by proxy six hours later. 

True, the foreman must know how to deliver. He must 
understand thoroughly what is proper procedure. If he is a 
good foreman, he will have had training, in a foreman's class, 
perhaps, or through long experience, in how to handle dis- 
ciplinary cases. He will know that what one employee 
will "take" will occasion rebellion in another. He will allow 
for the kind of work and the grade of intelligence. His 
words will be tactful and constructive. He will reprimand 
in private. 

The better the foreman, the fewer occasions to resort to 
discipline. The foreman who gets into a towering rage, 
bawls out an employee, indulges in sarcastic tirades, and 


seems happy when he is berating and humiliating one under 
him should not be on the pay roll. He should be in a strait 
jacket until he learns how to handle himself. It will be a 
happy day for us when he becomes as extinct as the dinosaur. 
Certainly he has no larger brain proportionately. 

A foreman builds morale by quiet power. The dignity 
that is found in a courtroom for juvenile offenders, where 
court procedure is enlightened, is what should obtain in a 
disciplinary interview with an employee, or in any interview 
for that matter. Where fault has been alleged, the purpose 
is to correct, not to punish. Besides, it may turn out that 
the employee has the facts that may correct the foreman or 
the company! An interview is a fact-finding procedure. If 
there are ten facts involved, make sure the foreman has all 
ten. If he gets only nine and barges ahead, the tenth may be 
brought out by the employee, and that one may outweigh 
all the others. 


How does the personnel director measure morale? By in- 
terpreting the mosaic of exit interviews, by appraising heart- 
to-heart talks with unhappy employees, by watching the 
trend of complaints brought to the grievance committee, and 
— in the mass, plant-wide, office-wide, store-wide — by the 
morale survey. This survey is -not something that the new- 
comer to personnel work should attempt unaided. He must 
have earned his leadership in his organization or come from 
outside with a good reputation which carries over before 
he sits in the driver's seat, because a morale survey — like so 
many other problems with which he deals — depends on con- 
fidence. He must establish confidence before he can rely 
on it. 

I am speaking now of a morale survey where there never 
was one before. Where there have been surveys previously, 
honestly conducted, fruitful with results, employee suspi- 
cion has been allayed. Then another survey is just another 
survey. But the first one requires caution, planning, and 
cooperation obtained by frankness in explaining its purpose. 


I offer for your consideration the suggestion that it might 
be wise to employ a firm that specializes in morale surveys 
instead of making one yourself. Such an outside survey 
seems to guarantee the employee that his uninhibited state- 
ments, being handled by an impersonal agency, will not lead 
to reprisals or even to awkward publicity. The outside 
agency reports in totals and percentages, not in terms of 
individual attitudes. 

The agency is probably better geared to do the educational 
spadework which precedes the distribution of questionnaires. 
You can and should buy forms, charts, and specimen ques- 
tionnaires for your own survey, but it seems to me that 
where you are a green hand you should get a better tailored 
questionnaire and a better reading of the findings by bring- 
ing in the professionals. Take no firm that cannot offer 
credentials based on excellent past performance in the 

The first thing to decide is what you wish to survey. No 
sense in surveying anything that is hitting on all sixteen 
cylinders, going along all right. No sense in asking to know 
what you already know. First, pick out the things that you 
know are wrong. Maybe you think you know why, but 
there's no harm asking. In fact, it's a most sensible thing 
to do. After that, pick out the next things that are causing 
trouble — down to those clouds on the horizon which you may 
read as a brewing storm. 

Questions deal with what further conveniences of physical 
working conditions should be provided and what other things 
the company should do for the employee (and his fellows) 
which it is not doing now, with attitudes respecting the 
company and its policies, the foreman, and the job. As in all 
questionnaires, the questions must be simple and direct. In- 
telligence quotients vary, and it is safest to remember the 
numbers of employees well below the median. Questions 
that are answered with a check mark are easiest for the em- 
ployee to answer. Department and group should be speci- 
fied on the sheet but not the name of the employee. 


How do you finally decide what questions to ask? Here 
two heads are better than one, and two dozen better than 
two. Executives whose departments are involved, division 
and section heads, foremen, all of them have points of view 
that may affect a question or its wording. They must be 
consulted. It may save time to have interviews with each. 
Instead of asking for questions, base your own questions on 
what you are told. This avoids arguments that involve pride 
of authorship. Let a man proffer a written question and if it 
does not appear on the tentative sheet with his exact word- 
ing, you may find him fighting for his brain-child. If he 
just tells you, when he sees the question he usually thinks it 
is his. Unless a questionnaire is concerned with plant- or 
store-wide attitudes, what may be pertinent for one depart- 
ment may have no usefulness for another. Certainly a sales 
department questionnaire is quite different from one pre- 
pared for a production department. 

Once you have your hatful of questions, reconcile those 
that have the same purpose, reduce questions to the simplest 
terms, making sure the wording does not fish for an obvious 
answer, and check carefully to see that you have covered 
the field you propose to explore. 

At the same time you must be spreading the news of the 
coming survey. This is a confidence-building campaign. 
You have to sell it to everybody. What you are really doing- 
is appealing for the largest possible return of properly filled- 
in questionnaires. In this campaign foremen are more valu- 
able than any other medium. Sell them on the survey, and 
you are already driving into the homestretch, out in front 
without thought of a whip. Supplementary are your bulle- 
tin boards and your newspaper or magazine. Put some hu- 
mor into the posters for the bulletin boards. Use straight 
reason-why, advantage-to-you copy for the magazine. 

It is a mistake to ask too many questions. Better to have 
two short surveys than one overlong one. When you or the 
delegated person gives out a questionnaire, there should be 
enough of a ceremonious presentation to impress the em- 


ployee that here he is being given a chance to register his 
opinions in democratic fashion. He is being given a vote by 
means of which he may better his own work world. 

The collection of the questionnaires is a matter of routine. 
It should be made promptly. Tabulation should be made by 
departments. The departures from the organization aver- 
ages tell their own stories. Match these with production or 
sales records. Into what final form you whip the returns 
depends on how statistical-minded you are. Management 
is accustomed to reports that tell their stories in some man- 
ner of scoring, whether percentage or other. Get help from 
your accounting department, if you need it, in order to whip 
the figures into shape. Bar scales and pie charts will make 
the report impressive. 

In your analyses you are permitted to inject your own 
opinions, making sure that it is understood they are your 
opinions. This is permissible in an effort to arrive at rea- 
sons why the vote is as it is. You are not only explaining 
the situation as you see it or try to see it objectively but also 
trying to give proper weight to the necessarily subjective, 
mayhap highly emotional, votes of some workers. The final 
report is not only a statement of the findings but also your 
brief which interprets them and makes recommendations. 

The most important part of the morale survey is yet to 
come: it is placing the verdict in the hands of employees 
and then by company action convincing them that the sur- 
vey has not been just one of those things. Admitted that the 
findings in their raw statistical state are not the type of ver- 
dict for employee consideration, there is yet a report to be 
made. You should write it — you are more personnel-minded 
than anyone else in management — but the president should 
sign it. If the president of your company can himself write 
a good report to the workers, I congratulate you on having a 
very able, understanding boss. 

Believe me, committee meetings and conferences too often 
are pretty awful. This is the place where they should get 
out of the rut, when considering the facts revealed by a mo- 


rale survey. Someone from top management should sit in on 
them to see that they are snappy, to squelch the windbag and 
the foreman or executive with an alibi, and to demand action 
and set a time limit when results are to be reported. If your 
survey shows that morale is sagging, this is the time to be 
tough with those exercising leadership, because sagging mo- 
rale decreases sales and lowers production, and at these 
points the company is hurting the stockholder's most sensi- 
tive nerve — his pocketbook. 


Music is a morale intangible. No one believes that it can 
compensate for the tyrannical foreman, the stress of indus- 
trial instability, the anxiety about an unhappy home. Yet 
for many it can be a transient soporific and a rhythmic spur 
to production. Its value cannot be measured as sound is 
measured in decibels. Where men and women work with 
their hands, engaged in dull, repetitive tasks, music can glad- 
den the spirit and lighten the labor. Music can enhance 

In planning music for an industrial plant what others have 
done can give you ideas but not a program. You learn best 
by a study of your own employees and by trial and error. 
Two plants can be side by side with practically the same pro- 
duction schedules, yet the same musical program may not 
elicit the same response in each. 

The first requirement is an adequate public address sys- 
tem. Adequate means that music comes through as music, 
with enough overtones to retain much of the richness of the 
original record. A system may carry the speaking voice with 
enough clearness to be satisfactory and yet fail you for musi- 
cal transmission. Too, one loud-speaker may prove annoy- 
ing where another reproduces pleasantly. So your electri- 
cian must have his ear always attuned to the loud-speakers 
as he goes about. Be sure that you have enough loud- 
speakers to reach every employee. 

The second requirement is a good musical library. What 


constitutes a good library is what you learn by trial and 
error. No matter what type of music you choose, not every- 
one will be pleased. You may even have an occasional em- 
ployee who will vote for a Bach fugue because he thinks it is 
wonderful. Be firm. You are not providing music for an 
intelligent minority. Other employees may stand hitched 
while you play Bach if you announce that it is so-and-so's 
birthday and he asked for it. Or his wife sent word to sur- 
prise him with it as a plant birthday present. "Congratula- 
tions, Bill. We'll play some more Bach on your birthday 
next year." 

You have to provide music the majority of employees like, 
and they like best what is familiar. You will find that cur- 
rent records are most popular. Over a period of time you 
may be able to grade up your music. 

The third requirement is a good platter turner and an- 
nouncer. He does more than work right at the microphone. 
He lays out tentative programs and submits them for your 
approval. He should be innately musical and in step with 
the employees he serves. He should be intelligent enough 
to discuss with you the successes and the busts and be able 
to advance reasons for both. I say "he" but it may turn out 
that your best operator is a "she." 

Your platter turner should be good at ad libbing and gifted 
with a sense of humor. He must have a good radio voice. 
He reads news and announcements. When he plays request 
numbers, he drops in a word or two directed at the person 
making the request. He has a sense of timing not only in 
speaking but in record playing. 

Don't play a good number to death. Leave that to the 
radio. Watch a group of employees. Study them while a 
musical selection is being played. If you cannot see that 
they are affected pleasantly, that the music gives a swing 
to their work, then that record should be sent to the Old 
People's Home. Anyway, get it out of your library. 

If employees ask for certain popular numbers, get them. 
Have plenty of current dance records for the noon hour. 


Have some spirited marches to play the employees into the 
plant when they come in and out of the plant at the end of a 
shift. And, above all, don't play music all day long. Per- 
sonally, I prefer instrumental to vocal music, but you must 
have some of the latter. Records of name bands with vocal 
interpolations fill the bill for the most part. 

This musical baby is your own and it is in your own lap. 
No one not acquainted with the likes and dislikes of your 
employees can give you a formula. You have to work it out 
for yourself. But of one thing you can be sure. In an in- 
dustrial plant music wisely employed is an undeniable spur 
to production. Music can enhance morale. 



I now come to the end of this study of personnel work in 
companies that have on the pay roll all the way from a few 
employees to twenty-five hundred or three thousand. Much 
of what has been written is valuable for companies that have 
fewer employees. Much of it is also pertinent for companies 
that have thousands. No matter how many employees there 
are, the closer you get to individual, personal problems, the 
closer you get to a personnel norm which any personnel di- 
rector must use. . 

Do I suggest that you try to follow all the personnel paths 
mapped in this book? I think they are all good. Do I do 
everything I have here advocated? Let's say I should. You 
will have to pick and choose sometimes. You are not a free 
agent. None of us is. We are all working within a frame- 
work. For some it is more confining than for others. The 
framework is established by management. 

There are cogent reasons why you must try to expand the 
framework. For one thing, the expansion is a satisfaction 
to the ego. The more diverse things you are able to accom- 
plish in the way of constructive personnel work, the greater 
your own growth in business stature. Again, you have an 
obligation to management to advance its interests. A su- 
perintendent urges the installation of a better machine. A 
personnel director must urge the use of better practices in 
his department, and truly his department covers the entire 
organization. Lastly, and I think this is most important of 
all, whatever expansion you can obtain means better work- 
ing conditions, better management-labor relationships, more 
satisfied and better employees. 

I am not in favor of butting my head against a stone wall. 



Personnel directors should seek to emulate a general trying 
to advance his line. He reconnoiters here and he probes 
there and he pries in another place, always seeking the soft 
spot where he can score a gain with the least expenditure of 
men and material. Each consolidated advance brings you 
nearer to the spot where, with Archimedes, you can apply 
your lever and move the world. 

Only a Primer. — What I have written is only a primer of 
personnel work. Any one chapter could be expanded into a 
book and still leave much to be told. I suspect I may have 
said one thing and then later asserted something a few shades 
different. That is to be expected because in personnel work 
one sometimes gets things done by one rule and again by 
another. One and one are always two when added, but one 
logical idea and another logical idea when added may be 
nothing but a colossal personnel blunder. 

I admit that many personnel directors get things done in 
one way, whereas many others get the same things done in a 
different way. What does it matter which way you work if 
you get things done smoothly? 

I have not tried to write an imposing textbook. For that 
you need a lot of technical jargon. Certainly I have avoided 
that as much as I can. A few big words have slipped in and 
I here and now apologize for them. It is true that some 
jargon is a short cut for the enlightened, but it has little 
place in a primer. Whenever I am at a gathering of per- 
sonnel men, not sitting too far front, and a speaker starts 
talking personnel jargon I mentally figure out how long he 
may be expected to talk. Then I slip out to a pleasanter 

In this book I have had no ax to grind, no pet theory to 
expound. I have merely tried to tell you what might happen 
to you. Often only one of two things will happen to you. 
Sometimes one of six or eight or ten things. I have tried to 
tell all ten in some instances (I think I have), that you may 
be prepared. 

Don't Expect Too Much. — Once you become a personnel 

FINAL 343 

director, do not expect results too soon. Feel your way and 
be sure of the moves you make. Be wary of taking a posi- 
tion with a company that demands immediate results. Em- 
ployee confidence is of slow growth. Work as if you ex- 
pected big results, but when you do not get them, do not be 
discouraged. You are dealing with human nature. 

Do not expect too much from bosses who have yet to learn 
what advantage a good personnel director can be to the com- 
pany and to them. As for the phony bosses, a conscientious 
personnel director is as unpopular with them as was Amos 
the Prophet, and for the same reason. Your program is a 
reproach to the phony bosses. From dealing with them you 
will learn the truth Amos expressed: "They hate him that 
reproacheth in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh 
uprightly." Just go on speaking uprightly and acting up- 
rightly. Given time and support, you will prevail. If you 
have not the support of the Big Boss, then you are with the 
wrong company. 

Through the years I have often wondered why some busi- 
nessmen who are so brilliant in handling money, materials, 
and machines are so dumb in handling their employees. 
They build up big businesses and then have to pay public 
relations counsels $40,000 a year to tell them their ethical 

The younger businessmen show improvement. They came 
to positions of authority during the depression years which, 
in business and politics, saw a quickening of the sense of 
responsibility to workers, investors, and the public. They 
ha*ve a saner attitude toward unions and an understanding 
of the advantages to their companies and to the nation of 
good wages which make contented employees. But the mil- 
lenium is not approaching so fast that good personnel direc- 
tors will have no place for their talents in my lifetime or 
yours. Rather, they should be more in demand as the speed 
accelerates. They will be in demand if they show manage- 
ment what they can do. Once they do that, more oppor- 
tunities will be theirs; and there will be less need for 


labor lawyers and public relations counsels advising on labor 

I am not a cynic. I have merely lived a long time. Well, 
anyway, it seems a long time. And during that time I have 
lived through a brutal era of industrial strife. Happily, for 
the most part we are done with the days of stark and raw 
injustice. Happily, management is not so intransigent as 
it was. Happily, labor asserts itself more often at the nego- 
tiators' table than at the picket line. In his last speech, the 
one he did not live to deliver, President Roosevelt wrote, 
'Today we are faced with the preeminent fact that if civili- 
zation is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human 
relationships — the ability of peoples of all kinds to live to- 
gether and work together in the same world, in peace." He 
was thinking in global terms, but his words apply as well to 
our own national economic organization for production for 
profit. We are cultivating the science — I prefer to say the 
art — of human relationships, and we must look to personnel 
directors for professional leadership in the interpretation 
and practice of that science or art. Unless they can give 
it, they will be only superclerks. And not so super at that. 

Maybe Saint Augustine was thinking along the lines of the 
quotation just given when he wrote, "No really good city 
can be founded or kept going except on the foundation and 
bond of faith and firm concord." That too is a statement 
of proper human relations in our world of business. 

I prefer to hold with President Roosevelt and Saint Au- 
gustine in preference to the cold school of personnel directors 
who are engineers engrossed in graphs and pie charts. I 
grant you that there is a place for time studies and multiple 
correlations, but human beings come first — first, human be- 
ings as individuals and, then, human beings in the abstract, 
in the mass. It may be all right for a company with twenty 
or thirty thousand employees to think first in terms of ergs 
of human energy (I don't believe it myself), but small com- 
panies should think in terms of Bill and Jim and Henry and 
Sue and Mary and Bess. 

FINAL 345 

Honest, It's Fun. — Don't think of being a personnel 
director unless you think of the work as being fun. I don't 
mean that you go around laughing like a zany. Not that 
kind of fun, if that really is fun at all. I mean fun in the 
sense of work that is enjoyable. Maybe you will not find 
that definition of fun in the dictionary. If not, it should be. 
A job is no good unless you get a lift out of it. You bring 
zest to it, and it gives you satisfaction in return. You look 
at the clock and are surprised that the end of the day has 
come. If you can't have that approach, don't be a personnel 

By this time you must have got the idea that I like what 
I am doing. I do. It would take a hundred pages to tell 
you why. Pages full of little things. I would tell you about 
the young woman who came back at the end of the day and 
said, "If that job you offered this morning is still open, I'd 
like to take it. I've been all over town today, and at no 
place was I received and treated so pleasantly as I was here." 

Perhaps I would tell you about another young woman who 
ended her letter quite simply, "Thank you for being my 
friend." Or about the men who come up and say, "The boys 
downstairs tell me that you can help me. Here's what I'm 
up against." We keep records, yes, and do a lot of other 
things ; but the people we meet are our greatest interest and 

When I wrote "the people we meet," I was picturing my 
immediate staff. Let me pay tribute to them here. I never 
knew a happier, more interested, more sincere group of young 
women. They are always thinking the best they can about 
people and doing the best they can for people. When one 
of our "customers" disappoints us or management disap- 
points us, they grieve ; but they pick themselves up and go 
on to the next problem without rancor and with high hope. 
I am proud of them. 

And So Farewell. — I come to the end of this book with a 
sense of frustration. There is so much to tell, and I have 
told so little. All I can hope is that you have found some 


friendly guideposts along the road you are to go. What I 
have learned I have often learned the hard way. May this 
book save you some of the knocks I have had to take. 

There is not much more to say. Since I have been sub- 
jective and personal all through this book, I see no reason 
why I should not end on a personal note. I like my work. 
I just go about my business and do the best I know how. I 
hope to keep at it for a long time to come. And when I die, 
all I ask is that Meyer Berger will write my obituary. It 
will be friendly and kind. 

There is little left to say to you directly. What the Lord 
said to Ezekiel sums it up. "Son of man, stand upon thy 
feet." Read that passage. Down to the description of an 
upright personnel man, by whatever title he may be known. 
"And they, whether they hear, or whether they will forbear. 
. . . yet shall know that there has been a prophet among 
them." Have a religious attitude toward your work. If not 
that, have a high ethical philosophy that is as near an ap- 
proach to the spiritual as possible. 


Absenteeism, 326-330 

American College of Surgeons, 137 

Amiel, H. F., 208 

Amos, 343 

Applicants, through advertising, 34 

elderly, 23-25 

from files, 35 

at railing, 27-29 

from schools and colleges, 25-27 

types of, 45-48 

where to find, 18 


Baer, George F., 87 

Berger, Meyer, 346 

Blue Cross Hospital Plan, 211-212 

Bosses, phony, definition of, 84 

types of, 90-94 
Budget, man-power, 287-293 

personnel department, 293-295 
Building and loan companies, 120- 

Bulletin boards, 273-275 
Bulmer, F. M. R., 132 

Carlyle, Thomas, 155 

College training for personnel work, 

Conferences, foremen training at, 

Confucius, 325 

Counseling employees, 104-108 
Credit unions, 120 

Demotions, 202-203, 242-244 
Dewey, John, 158 
Discharges, 245-246 
Dramatic clubs, 144-146 


Eliot, Charles W., 164 

Employee Training (see Training) 

Employees, and collections for gifts, 

dead beats, 115-117 
discipline of, 332-334 
family difficulties of, 108-110, 123- 

fund raising among, 146-149, 213- 

handbook, 100 

hired by personnel department, 21 
human relation difficulties of, 104- 

information for, 269-280 
information given about, 118-120 
and leaves for union work, 249 
loans to, 111, 121-122 
medical examinations of, 134-135 
with meetings, 278-280 
rating scales for, 226-234 
recognition sought by, 97 
recreational activities for, 138-146 
self-rating scales, 233-234 
status sought by, 97 
stock sales to, 204, 205 
training of, by foremen, 264 
women, 304^315 




Employment agencies, nonfee, 32 

private, 33 
Employment manager, 71 
Executive training (see Training) 
Executives, 84-96 
Ezekiel, 346 

Fair Labor Standards Act, 300-301 

Financial statement, company, 275- 

Ford, Henry, 190 

Foremen, 257-268 

conferences for, 174-178 
curtailed responsibility of, 265-266 
definition of, 257-258 
employee rating of, 231-232 
handling grievances of, 267-268 
as part of management, 258-259 
rating of, 231 

responsibilities of, 259-261 
training of, 173-178, 261-264, 266- 

Fund raising among employees, 146- 
149, 213-214 


Gladstone, William E., 85 

, H 

Health, training program for, 182 

of women, 308-309 
Hillel, Rabbi, 325 
Holidays, 254-255 

Induction, 97-103 

and introduction to department, 

and sponsors, 102 
Industrial Medicine, 132, 138 
Information about employees, 118— 

Installment houses, 114 
Insurance, compensation, 211 
group, accident, 210-211 

life, 209-210 
unemployment, 211 
Interviews, exit, 246-247, 255, 256 
news from, 283-284 
personal problems in, 104-108 
Interview, hiring, 37-56 

applicants, types of, 45-48 
caution against prejudices in. 44- 

decisions made after, 51-53 
facts told successful applicant 

in, 51 
opening of, 40-44 
rating scale for, 55-56 
sizing up applicant before, 38-40 

Jesus Christ, 325 
Job analysis, 218-221 
importance of, 22 
Job evaluation, 221-226 
Job histories, forms for, 80-81 
Job measurements. 221-226 
Job specifications. 220-221 
Johnson, Alvin. 269 
Jones, John Paul. 96 
Joyce, James, 179 

La Guardia, Fiorello H., 112 
Laws, state, 301-302 
Lawyers, 302-303 
Layoffs, 244 

for discipline, 250 
Leave, maternity, 212-213. 248-249 

sick, 250 

to try new job, 250-251 

for union work, 249 
Letters, of application, 30-32 

of introduction, 29 
Library, 142-144 
Loan companies, 112-114 



Loan sharks, 111 

Loans, employee, 111, 121-122 


McCall, G. R., 132 
Macauley, Thomas B., 151 
Magazine, company (see Newspaper, 

Marriage, management gift on, 122- 

Medical department, 131-138 

as company board of health, 136 

examinations of employees by, 134 

health lectures by, 182 

purpose of, 110-111 

staff, size of, 135-136 
Meetings, employee, 278-280 
Mill, John Stuart, 74 
Monotony, 325-326 
Morale, 316-340 

absenteeism increased by low, 326- 

bonuses, 320 

discipline, 332-334 

monotony affecting, 325-326 

music, 338-340 

newspaper, company, 318 

rewards, 320 

slumps in, 322-324 

surveys, 334-338 

tardiness increased by low, 328-329 

teamwork, 319-320 

working conditions affecting, 324- 
Morale survey, news from, 282 
Music, 338-340 

by employees, 140-142 


National Apprentice Plan, 165, 170 
National Labor Relations Act, 150 
National Labor Relations Board, 

National Safety Council, 183 
Newspaper, company, 270-273, 318 
reporters for company, 282 
news for local, 277-278 

Paper work, personnel department, 
employment forms, 75-78 
job-history forms, 80-81 
rating-scale interview forms, 79- 

reference forms, 78-79 
severance forms, 81-82 
Pension plans, 206-209 
Personnel department, staff of, 69- 
employment manager, 71 
personnel assistant, 71 
recreation director, 72 
secretary, 70-71 
Personnel director, "don't do it" 
rules for, 15-18 
in labor-management controver- 
sies, 151 
line or staff, 69 
qualifications of, 4-6 
report of, to management, 280-281 
surveying new job, 8-19 
Polonius, 90 
President of company ("big boss"), 

Profit-sharing plans, 203-204 
Promotions, 201-202, 236-239 
Psychiatrists, 136 
Public address system, 280 
Public contacts, training for, 183-185 


Rating scales, 226-234 
comments entered on, 229-230 
employee self-rating, 233-234 
for executives, 232-233 
for foremen, 231 
for hiring interview, 55-56 
interview forms, 79-80 
man-to-man, 228-239 
personality, 61-62 
Recognition, employee, 97 
Recreational activities, 138-146 
athletics, 138-140 



band, company, 141 

chess club, 142 

choral society, 141-142 

director, 72 

dramatic club, 144-146 

library, 142-144 

music. 140-142 
References, sending for, 53-54 
Resignations, 244-245 
Restaurant, company, 126-131 

complaints about, 128 

importance of balanced diet in, 131 

manager of, 127, 130 % 

thefts in, 129 
Roosevelt, Franklin D., 344 

Safety, training for, 182-183 
for women, 308-310 

Saint Augustine, 344 

Saint Paul, 110, 168 

Severance pay, 205-206 

Sharpley, Lilian, 189 

Sponsors, 101-102 
part played by, 172-173 

Statistics, personnel, 293-297 

Status, employee, 97 

Steinmetz, Charles P., 73 

Suggestions, 284-286 

Surveys, morale, 334-338 

Tardiness, 328-329 
Teachers, 100, 185 
Tests for placement, 57-68 

kinds of, 62-68 

validity of, importance of, 60-61 
Thefts, in library, 144 

in restaurant, 129 
Training, 165-186, 264 

of executives, 178-180 

of foremen, 173-178, 261-264, 266- 

health, 182 

induction, 98 

on the job, 170-172 

of new employees, 168-170 
programs of, types of, 165 
for promotion, 180-181 
for public contacts, 183-185 
refresher courses, 180-181 
for safety, 182-183 
step-up courses, 180-181 
teachers, 100, 185 
Transfers, 201-202, 239-242 
(See also Demotions) 


Uniform small-loan law, 113 
Unions, 150-164 

attitude of, toward fund-raising. 
Unioneers, 162 

Vacations, 251-254 


Wages, of beginners, 199 

bonuses, 198-199 

commissions, 198-199 

increases in, 194-196 

of occasional employees, 200-201 

of part-time employees, 200 

piece-rate, 193 

shift differentials, 201 

time, 192 
Webster, Daniel, 164 
Women, 304-315 

as applicants for jobs, 305-307 

career, 314-315 

health of, 308-309 

on the job, 307-308 

personnel department's concern 
for, 311-314 

safety of, 308-310 

Yeats, William Butler, 179 

Date Due 


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